Can Kids Ride Miniature Horses? Exact Age & Weight Limits

Miniature horses are some of the cutest pets you can have. You have probably seen them in a catalog and wonder if they can be ridden.

Can Miniature Horses Be ridden?

Smaller kids can ride a miniature horse. But you should not load a horse with more than around 20% of its own weight. A miniature horse weighs around 250-350 pounds so that’s 50-70 pounds as maximum load, depending on the breed.

Here’s everything you need to know about riding the Miniature horse breeds.

Pros & Cons
Considering whether a miniature horse is a good idea? Read our article with all you need to know about keeping them as a pet!
You can find that article over here:
13 things to know about miniature horses as a pet.

Miniature Horse Riding Fast

What Age Kids Can Ride A Miniature Horse?

Kids up to 70 pounds can ride some of the bigger miniature horses. That’s the weight of an average built 8 or 9-year-old kid. Bigger kids and adults can be pulled in a cart by the miniature horse.

As we mentioned above you should expect the miniature horse to be able to carry up to 20% of its own weight.

But after that age, bigger kids can still play with the horse as the horse can carry them in a cart. That’s also a lot of fun and the kids can still cuddle and care for the horse. The miniature horses are extremely likable so your kids will probably form a very strong bond with them.

That’s another reason why a miniature horse is just great with the kids.

They can be up to 35 years old so the kids will have a playmate for all of their childhood. That’s more than can be expected of dogs and other cute pets.

How Much Can a Miniature Horse Carry?

There are actually several miniature horse breeds you can get. They vary in size and weight so you need to know exactly what you get in order to know its capacity and whether it can’t be ridden.

Here’s a rundown of the different breeds and how they stack up when it comes to how much load they can carry.

The miniature horses fall in two categories: “A division” and “B division”.

  • A division: up to 34 inches (86 centimeters)
  • B division: 34-38 inches (86- 97 centimeters)

You need to know the weight of the specific breed and it’s not easy to find online. I just spent more than half an hour searching Google and forums about these facts and the numbers I got were all over the place. Definitely not reliable.

So make sure you check the specific weight of the animal before you buy it. That’s the only way to know for sure how much waited can carry.

The rule of thumb here is that you can load any horse with up to 20% of its own weight. But be aware that this is for a full-grown and healthy horse. For older or weaker horses you should not go higher than 10-15%.

Instruct kids well before leaving them alone with the miniature horse

You should never leave kids alone with a miniature horse unless they are properly trained and you know they take good care of the animal.

When kids are playing they can easily load the animal too heavy.

Be sure to instruct them to never place two persons on the miniature horse and they should know exactly who can go on it and who can’t. Otherwise, you might hurt the poor animal.

Pay extra attention if your kids are having friends over who are not used to working with horses. They might talk to each other into something that will hurt the horse.

What Happens If It Is Packed Too Heavy?

You don’t want to pack your horse too heavy. It does not matter whether it’s a miniature horse or a regular size horse. The horse would suffer if you exceed the 20% limit. You should only pack the animal with up to 20% of its own body weight.

If you fail to follow this rule you will hurt the animal.

These could be typical consequences:

  • It might kick you off or start bucking.
  • It might start rearing (lifting its forelegs off the ground to get you off).
  • It might get back problems
  • It might get knee and feet problems

How Is The Temper Of Miniature Horses?

Miniature horses are typically very friendly and easy to work with. They have been bred over more than 400 years to be great with kids so you can expect them to have a very good temper.

They are easy to ride and they are very friendly and calm.

It’s a great way to get the kids into horses at an early age. You shouldn’t leave smaller kids around big horses, so in order to get them fascinated by horses, it’s great to start with a miniature horse foal.

Miniature horses are also great for kids who like to take care of the horses and come with you for a ride. As soon as they start to show an interest in caring for the animals you should get them a miniature horse if you can.


You can practically do anything with a miniature horse that you would do with a normal horse. You just need to pay close attention to the weight limits.

Can Miniature Shetlands Be Ridden?

Miniature Shetland ponies can be ridden by people just as any other horse. As always, you need to pay close attention to the horse’s weight. It’s not always easy to see how heavy a horse is so you need to be sure if you are getting close to the max load limit.

The Shetlands ponies normally weigh around 250- 350 pounds (113-160 kilograms). So on average, you can ride the pony if you weigh up to 60 pounds (27 kilograms).

When you measure them according to their size they are among the very strongest horses. They are tough and can carry more than the 20% we normally advise as a minimum load for horses (according to their own weight).

Miniature Shetland horses are super cute too.

Can A Miniature Horse Pull A Cart?

A horse can easily pull up to 150% of its own body weight. Some horses can pull even more but it depends a lot on how they are built and how often they work out. You need to pay attention to its breathing to make sure it is not overloaded.

A miniature horse can easily pull a small cart.

Actually, it’s a great way to let the kids play with the miniature horse after they become too big to ride it.

The miniature horse can live up to 35 years, so the kids will have plenty of time to play with it after they are much too big to ride on it.

You need to pay close attention to how the horse is reacting when working with the cart. If its breathing becomes too fast and the heart rate rises you need to lower the weight of the cart.

Small Horse Breeds For Low People And Big Kids

Icelandic horse (smaller than regular horses)

There are actually several options for you as well if you just prefer a horse that’s a little lower than the normal-sized horse. We have written a separate article with the five best small horse breeds.

Can You Ride A Pony?

Again, this totally depends on the specific breed and the size of the pony in question. It’s impossible to say something in general because it depends on the bodyweight of the pony as well as how well the animal is trained.

You just need to know the weight of the pony in order to calculate how much 20% of that weight is.

Take the weight of the animal and divide it by five. It’s as simple as that. But as we mentioned earlier, you need to pay close attention to how a horse (or pony) is reacting when you’re working with it.

If it seems exhausted or at the breathing is getting too heavy you need to slow down.

Take a break or choose another horse that’s bigger.

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