Miniature horses are ADORABLE! They are exactly what they sound like: Small horses. They are different from ponies in the way they are built and they are easy to manage.
Here’s everything you need to know about these amazing little creatures.
You need to read this before you (seriously) consider getting a miniature horse.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cute little horses are expensive pets. They take the same amount of work to breed and the little foal needs the same care as a normal foal. So now you have been warned.
Here are some prices we found for miniature horses:
If you are willing to train the little fella yourself you might save some money. But you will need patience and skills in order to train the little horse because it can be feisty a normal horse.
Here are some of the main things to affect the price:
You might be able to find a cheaper little horse if you can live with a horse with a bad temper or an older horse. But generally, these were the prices we could find online.
Additional cost per year
In many ways, a miniature horse requires the same amount of vaccines, veterinarian checks, etc. as a normal horse. So you should also count in the cost of vets.
- Vaccinations: $65 per year
- Hoof care: $200 per year
- Shoeing: $500 per year
Food will also be a substantial cost.
Here are some general numbers of what you should expect from food expenses:
- Hay: $800-900 per year
- Supplements: $200 per year
Equipment you will need
In some regards, your mini horse is as demanding as a normal horse. Also when it comes to things you will need to acquire if this is your first horse in the household.
But in other regards, they will need different equipment.
They cannot use the same equipment as a normal-sized horse so you will need to get extra items and equipment from day one. Here’s a list of things you will need to get in order to keep a miniature horse.
- Saddle: You need a special saddle for the little horse. It can not use a regular size. The little saddle typically costs around $200.
- Bridle: The bridle will cost around $30.
- Trailer: If this is your first horse you will need a horse trailer to transport it. You will probably have to move it at some point either to the vet or to be ridden elsewhere. You can often find a good used trailer for around $2,000.
- Buggy: When The kids get older than 8 or 9 they will not be able to ride on the back. But the little horse can still pull them around in a tiny buggy or cart. They can be found online for around $600.
Can You Ride A Miniature Horse?
You can ride a miniature horse if you are less than 50-60 pounds (23-27 kilograms).
Horses are able to carry up to 20% of their own body weight. You need to watch this number carefully in order to not overwork the horse.
Especially if you are letting your kids play around it by themselves. When they have friends over you need to make sure they are not loading the horse too heavy.
We have written a separate article here with all the facts about age and weight for when the child can ride a miniature horse.
3 Miniature Horse Breeds (height and temper)
That are actually several horse breeds when we are talking about miniature horses. They are all pretty similar in height and weight but there are differences when it comes to temper and colors.
1) American Miniatures
This is a great horse to learn to ride. You will have a very nice and calm companion for many years and it will certainly form a strong bond with kids.
It only measures 8 hands (32 inches or 81 centimeters) from the ground to the withers. So it’s actually one of the taller miniature horses.
This brief is known for its nice temperament and it’s really nice and easy to ride. It has been bred over many generations to be great with beginners and kids. So if you are looking for a small horse for the kids to catch interest in horses this might just be the one for you.
They are also a strong breed see you might be able to use it for (a light) draft as well.
This breeze is one of the smallest and the worst horse breeds in the world.
They are only around 7 hands tall (28 inches or 71 cm) though they can get up to 8 hands tall like the American Miniatures we mentioned above.
They are super cute with a long beautiful mane and a majestic posture. They are actually quite similar to Arab horses in their built and riding style with a very slim and gorgeous body.
They are very intelligent and easy to train. They are also great at driving a cart and this is a great option if you have bigger kids as well. Remember, that horses will only carry around 20% of their own body weight and this means that you shouldn’t expect a kid to ride it after the age of 9. That’s how small these tiny horses are!
The Caspian breed is slightly bigger than the two horses we just looked at. They are a little more robust and will often be able to carry a kid till the age of 10-12, depending on how tall the kid is.
They will typically be around 10 hands (40 inches or 100 cm) and sometimes they will get 4 inches taller than that.
So we are still talking about a very small horse here. They are also quite similar in appearance to Arab horses and they are listed as descendants of them as well.
They are good jumpers and they are known to have an easy temper even though they can have a mind of their own sometimes. So if you are raising a kid with an interest in horse jumping this is a very good place to start. They will have a good experience while learning all the basics and they want to get a good feel of how to work with the horse.
They are great with kids which is probably the single most important character trait of a tiny horse. The Caspian breed is also a very strong bead and you will rarely need shoeing unless you expect to ride it on hard surfaces.
Lifespan Of The Horses
A miniature horse little live almost as long as a normal horse. Horses typically live between 25 and 35 years so you need to plan for keeping them in the long run.
This is very important to consider if you want your kids to take care of it. As they grow older they might not be there to take care of the horse and then you will be caring for it.
You could also sell it at this point of course but this is something you need to consider before you buy a miniature horse for the household.
Miniature Horse Care
As we have mentioned above, a miniature horse is in many ways quite similar to a normal horse. So you should expect the same workload when it comes to caring for it.
1) Access to shelter
You need to make sure they have access to a barn and all times. They are not as tough as bigger horses because their heads are closer to the ground. Also, they did not do well out in stormy weather. They can be kept among bigger horses but they need access to shelter more often.
2) Teeth care
You also need to make sure there are no issues with the teeth of the little fella. Justice bigger horses, you need a good routine regarding the cleaning of its teeth.
It’s important to start doing this from an early age so the horse will be used to it.
If you fail to give it good dental care it might develop sharp edges in the mouth that can cause problems for the animal.
3) Hooves care
You will have to take the horse to see a farrier regularly. It needs to get used to the trimming and balancing of the hooves and if necessary, you should also have them place shoes on the animal. This mostly depends on where you are going to ride the horse.
If you want to take the little horse to shows you need to take good care of him with an everyday grooming routine. Just as with the cleaning of its teeth, it’s important to start this early on in order for the horse to get used to the routine.
How Easy Is It To Train? (personality & temper)
Again, in many cases, training a miniature horse is very similar to training a normal horse. They do tend to be easier to work with as you can handle them easier due to the size.
You can teach all the tricks and things that you can teach a normal horse. And it’s really important that you teach it properly in order for it to behave around the kids.
You can actually also train and miniature horse to work as a service horse. Very similar to how you can use a service dog to work alongside a disabled human being. More on that in a minute.
This goes to show just how much you can trust a horse to help you.
How Dangerous Is It When Kicking?
The kick from a miniature horse is very dangerous, especially to kids and seniors. That’s also part of the reason why you need to train the horse well.
You need to train the horse not to kick but you also need to train your kids not to stand behind the animal. Because you can never train an animal to behave perfectly at all times.
If something stresses out that little horse it might kick even though it’s really well trained. You just can never be 100% sure. So make sure your kids are aware of this so they never surprise the animal (from behind) or even stand behind the horse. They need to always approach the horse from the front and preferably from the side so the horse can see them properly.
Horses do have a blind spot from the back and if you approach it directly from the front. So the best thing is to always approach it from the front while coming from an angle from one of the sides.
Are The Little Horses Good Service Animals?
We have seen multiple examples where people have chosen a miniature horse for a service animal. Normally we only see dogs doing this job good people have chosen more and more animals as service animals during the last decades.
As we mentioned, horses are really good at leading the way. And they are also good at remembering a route so they can make a great companion as a service horse.
They will not work well with a blind person (of course) but for people who have trouble carrying the groceries etc., a tiny horse can be a great choice.
For most people, is that a little controversial to see a horse leading a person in the supermarket or in the mall. But is not that strange really when you think about it because horses have been close friends with humans for centuries. They love to work alongside the master and they are good at carrying stuff.
In the wild, sometimes a horse from the flock will go blind. Whenever that happens, another horse from the flock will lead the blind horse carefully.
This is a really beautiful thing to watch and it just goes to show how nature has taught horses to lead the way.
Miniature Horse Vs. Pony
You might wonder what’s the difference between a miniature horse and a pony. And the answer lies in the way the animal is built.
The pony is a little more tightly built and they are typically very strong. They have stronger feet and they are broader over the shoulders compared to a normal horse. But they can definitely be a good companion for a kid as well.
So you might wonder if the best option for your kids is a miniature horse or a pony. So here are some things to consider before your mind
- Ponies have shorter legs and are stronger
Since ponies are billed as more robust you might be able to ride them until the age of 12 or even 13. A miniature horse, on the other hand, can typically be ridden till the age of 8 or 9 (See more numbers here).
- Miniature horses are proportioned like a real horse
Miniature horses, on the other hand, are proportioned more like real horses which mean they have longer legs than a pony. So, if you are aiming to teach your kid to ride a real horse, in the long run, it might be a better fit with a miniature horse. Simply because the miniature horse basically is a small horse while the pony is built a little differently.
- Ponies can be a little stubborn
Ponies tend to be a little more stubborn than miniature horses and normal horses. They behave a little more like a donkey when it comes to will and personality. So for the kids, it’s typically a better option to get a miniature horse. They are easier to teach and it’s easier for the kid to make it behave as they want to.
After all, it is important that the kids get a good experience with the miniature horse in order for them to catch a general interest in horses.
So all in all, if you are looking for the perfect please calm, and easy-to-work-with horse for your little ones, miniature horses are typically the way to go.
Simply because they have a very nice temper and they are basically just a horse that has been shrunk in size.