Quantcast

A friend for my mini horse...

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

Ferrah

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
444
Reaction score
0
Its coming up pretty quick to when I get to take my Miniature Horse Spider home. I'd like to get Spider a friend because he is used to having company from other animals. Ideally I'd like to get Spider another gelding to buddy up with, but that won't be an option for another year or two.

I do sheep in 4-H and wondering if sheep or goats make good companions for Miniature Horses? Spider is used to sheep because he shares pasture with them. When I bring Spider home they will be on a big dry lot with another 1/2 acre fenced "pasture" that they will be able to play and graze on, but not for long periods of time. My question is because sheep are free fed on hay if they would make a good friend for the Miniature. I don't want Spider to have free access to hay. Is there a way I cen set something up so the sheep can get the hay it needs without Spider being free fed on hay? Would I be better off keeping Spider alone until I can get another Miniature?

Does anyone know whether or not it is okay for sheep to have rationed hay? I could keep Spider in his stall for an hour longer in the morning and night and let the sheep have access to the hay it wanted for that period of time, plus some sheep grain.

I want to do what is best for both the sheep and the horse, so I am not sure if this will work out because of the differences in feeding. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

chandab

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2005
Messages
12,168
Reaction score
2,262
Location
NE Montana
I can't really answer your questions specifically, but can tell you my experience.

When I got my first horse, full-size, I only had one. One of our neighbors had a ram (only sheep they had on that property), my horse and the ram made friends over the fence. More than once I caught them standing together at the fence grooming each other (ram did the best he could, considering he couldn't really reach over the fence). They seemed to get along just fine. I don't know if I would want to pasture them together, but they seem to enjoy the company across the fence.
 

blueprintminis

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
Messages
134
Reaction score
2
Location
Southwestern Ohio
A goat would probably work out better. Goats are cool!
You have to watch horses eating sheep/lamb food. Something to do with the copper content. Or maybe it is the sheep that can't get horse feed because of the copper content. I have 2 goats who get along great with the horses. You probably would be better off just getting one so it hangs with the mini. I have a nubian doe (large dangly ears) and a pygmy doe. Both are de-horned. The pygmy is more mischivious, the nubian is more laid back. One thing about goats, they can jump. They also like to "recline" up high. You could get a wooden crate or one of those large wooden spools that cable and phone companies discard and put it near a wall where you put a hay rack that has a catch basin (feeder) attached and the goat could stand up on the spool and eat its hay. This works well for several reasons. There will be some stray hay that falls. This will be a treat for the mini. But, in a goat's world, hay is only edible until it hits the ground. It then automatically becomes bedding. I don't know how much hay I end up throwing out when the goats are stalled separate from the horses because the hay that lands on the floor quickly becomes their toilet or bed. Goats are very very smart. Mine come when I call them and know their names. I keep dog collars on mine so they are easy to catch.

Why do you have to wait to get another mini?

Wanted to add: initially, when the goats were young and growing I did feed them "goat chow". But for the past couple years they've eaten some horse sweet feed and oats, along with grass hay. They seem to be doing just fine with the horse feed. I have noticed, however, that the goats can/will push a timid horse out of the feeder. Most of the mares give them a look like "make my day" and the goats keep their distance, but a couple of them I do have to be sure the goats don't eat all their food.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ferrah

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
444
Reaction score
0
I have to wait to get another mini because right now we don't have the money to buy a second one. I have money in the bank as an "emergency" fund if Spider needs vet care, but I don't want to use that to buy him another horse...just in case.

I'll have enough money saved up in a year or year and a half to buy a second one to be his buddy, I just don't want Spider to get too lonely in the meantime. A woman down the road has a Quarter Horse mare who also lives on her own. The woman suggested that she could divide her pasture so my mini could come over and graze for awhile and have some company without the risk of getting hurt by the bigger horse. I liked this idea, but would like to get a friend on a more permanent basis.

I like the idea of the goat, and them being able to jump on top of things to eat makes things a lot easier. Can goats climb fences? Our fence would only be between 4 and 5 feet, is this too short for a goat?
 

runamuk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2002
Messages
2,604
Reaction score
0
Goat or sheep if they decide to get out of the fence they will
my mini's live with sheep the biggest drawbacks are feeding grain......the amount of copper in horse feed will kill sheep same with mineralized salt blocks for horses too much copper .........another issue sheep and goats tend to be hair chewers
so if you like long luxurious manes well........,say bye bye


However I love the fact that my stallion isn't alone and his sheep are his flock/herd.......he is buddies with them and they all sleep together and play....

I reccomend you get either POLLED sheep or DEHORNED goats as horns can be very dangerous even in play........

Do some research ahead so you are prepared....I actually got sheep to help with eating my acreage but I had specific ideas of which sheep would work and I knew feeding concentrates/blocks would be an issue up front.......our goat(pygmy or something similar) is tethered and eats weeds by the house (he was dumped in my yard I really didn't want a goat
) he has horns so I am careful as to where he is.........
 

blueprintminis

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
Messages
134
Reaction score
2
Location
Southwestern Ohio
Ferrah said:
A woman down the road has a Quarter Horse mare who also lives on her own.  The woman suggested that she could divide her pasture so my mini could come over and graze for awhile and have some company without the risk of getting hurt by the bigger horse.  I liked this idea, but would like to get a friend on a more permanent basis.

I like the idea of the goat, and them being able to jump on top of things to eat makes things a lot easier.  Can goats climb fences?  Our fence would only be between 4 and 5 feet, is this too short for a goat?

457485[/snapback]

My older mini mare is running on pasture at my friend's house keeping her 8 year old Arabian gelding company. They are best buds, even eating out of the same feed pan. Works out well for both me and my friend. The mare should never be bred again and I've got my stallion out in pasture with my mares here. Plus my friend's horse was lonely without any companionship. However, in your situation, you probably want to keep your little guy at your own place so you can see and play with him more

Yes, goats can jump. The pygmy seems to be "better" at getting around, under, through fences/gates. The nubian, being bigger and fatter, is much less of a Houdini. As long as the goat is happy in her "enclosure" she probably won't want to go anywhere. My pygmy won't go anywhere if the nubian doesn't go with her, so even if the pygmy gets out, she gets right back in because the nubian is in. I would recommend a female, although I've heard a male goat neutered at a very young age makes a good pet too.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rabbitsfizz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Messages
10,937
Reaction score
384
Location
England
I have heard of horses palling up with other species but have no experience of it. All I know is, given a choice, they do not do it. For a start, even Donkeys speak a completely different language. Goats do NOT speak horse, a goat I had nearly got badly hurt because she did not understand laid back ears meant trouble. I also see you buy into this "lets all diet" way of life, may I ask why?? Do you intend to show Sider at some really competitive shows?? If not, why not just fence a sensible amount (1-2 acres) and let him be happy?? I have never dieted anything, including the Show Horses- although they do come up into a stable, so I suppose their feed is somewhat restricted against everyone else who is out 24/7. How old is your little guy?? Had you considered a rescue?? Why a dry lot?? Not, IMO necessary at all- well, certainly you will not find one over here at all, and we seem to manage to show horses all the same!!!
 

Ferrah

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
444
Reaction score
0
I didn't buy a rescue because I wanted a horse I could take to our local shows and also show at AMHA/AMHR shows in our province. Spider won't just be a pet, and he was the best horse that I could find (conformation wise) locally. Spider is a yearling and will be turning two in April.

Everyone I had talked to previously had recommended keeping Spider on a dry lot if I planned to show, and the idea made sense to me because when I raise market lambs I take them off pasture two weeks before the show because this helps firm up their flesh. I honestly didn't think that keeping Spider on anything but a dry lot was an option because all the opinions I had gotten said keep him that way. Also all the horses I have very known have been on restricted diets, full sized and minis alike...so I didn't know any different for a show horse.

We would only be able to fence a little 1/2 acre "pasture" so wouldn't Spider have that grazed down in no time into a dry lot anyway? I thought I would keep him in the dry lot and let him out for a couple hours every day so his little pasture would last a lot longer.
 

rabbitsfizz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Messages
10,937
Reaction score
384
Location
England
Dry lots are definitely an American thing- you don't get them anywhere else- well, not anywhere that has grass, anyway!! I have never before come across horses that are kept on such a restricted diet- all my horses have always been fed totally ad lib hay at all times- the mangers for my Arabs were made to hold a whole bale at a time. When they went out to graze (they were stalled at night in Winter only) they went out all day- dawn till dusk- on as good grazing as I could provide. These horses were always well padded - they were broodmares- but were never gross. They ate steadily but after the first couple of nights when they did stuff the hay away, they settled down and ate normally, and a bale lasted 2/3 days- the difference is, with hay in front of them all the time, they sort of grazed and there was never the anxiety that a horse always feels when it does not have constant access to food- horses graze 22 o/o 24 hours a day naturally. This does not have to be rich, lush grass, of course, in fact it should not be, by choice, but it should be constant. I just naturally did the same with the Minis. It would be far better for Spider to be out dawn till dusk on grass that has become naturally restricted- ie grazing short grass- than out for two hours on good grass then standing, bored stiff, in a dry lot. Since you have only the one horse he is going to get bored far more easily than a horses with playmates- as I said, Goats and Sheep and even Donkeys do not speak the same language so true interaction is limited but better than nothing, definitely. I know you want the best for your little guy, and I commend you trying to buy wisely- is there anyway you could perhaps borrow another little horse- perhaps Foster for a rescue?? It is true you will need to bring him up and condition him for showing- for this the ideal is a roundpen as lungeing is rife with problems especially for a "newbie". This you could set up easily in the dry lot area, but, until you actually start to show, a happy relaxed well fed boy is far more desirable. One more thought- is he gelded?? If not he's going to get pretty rough with whoever he is kept with , especially if it is a lot smaller than him. Sorry if this sounds like a downer, I am not trying to discourage you at all. I think you have given the matter serious thought and are trying to do the best you can, but I do think it needs a little more thought from the horses point of view.
 

Latest posts

Top