Activities to do with Mini Horse

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Chloesmama

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This may seem like a silly question, but what are some things that my kids and I can do with our mini to train/ keep him tame?

We got Skye almost a year ago. We have never owned horses but my kids have taken riding lessons for almost 2 years, so not completely unfamiliar with the care. Skye was a breeding stallion for 8 years and then was gelded by the person we got him from. He is gentle and kind with us, but pretty head strong. We visit him daily and clean his hooves and brush him, but we have not been working with him much on lead line over the winter. He is now not wanting to do any ground work and we really have to work to get him going. I want to know some ways to engage him that will be fun for him and us. We don't have a cart and wouldn't know how to start. I tried watching some videos about training and we have been trying to do it daily, but he doesn't love it.

Any suggestions are welcome!
 

Standards Equine

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Firstly, much respect to you for reaching out for more education. I really appreciate owners like you who are doing their best to put their hooved partner's best interest first.
If transportation is an option, getting into a clinic is a great idea. Groundwork clinics are so valuable - especially when you're not familiar with the process.

When I work with young or green horses, of any size, there are two really important things I work on first. The first is move your feet. The second is stop moving your feet. Seems so simple. We can break that down further. When I apply pressure on the lead rope, I'm asking the horse to give to it. As soon as there's an effort to give (forward thought), I will release. If you can find the timing to reward the "Try", you can teach your horse to fly the space shuttle (disclaimer: flying the space shuttle requires opposable thumbs - horses don't have opposable thumbs, ergo cannot fly the space shuttle...) I just mean that once they understand the reward for putting in an effort to engage with you, they tend to try more.
Once I have a clear understanding about giving to pressure (move your feet) I will clearly define STOP (don't move your feet.) Once that's covered, we can break it down into further detail. Move only this front foot and move it to the left, now move it back. Now move your other foot only backwards...

It's really fun where you can get to but I feel it's really important to start at very elementary basics. We always say in dressage "problems at higher levels are only showing holes in the basics" and I really believe that.

Best wishes to you!!
 

MaryFlora

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Absolutely not a silly question! Like Standards Equine states, one step at a time!

It sounds like Skye is familiar with the basics, he has had all winter to relax and hang out in the horse equivalent of a recliner with the remote in his hand! Being in Minnesota with long cold winters, I’m familiar with that mindset! 🤣

Any movement you can do in a safe and comfortable environment is helpful, whether you are in an arena, a driveway, or walking around a yard. Walking over small posts/logs, a hula hoop on the ground, or over a small tarp are all ways to interest your pony and get him problem solving. Walking a pattern such as a Figure8, serpentine, circles, and backing up between two poles are common ways to increase communication.

Some members have set up their own obstacle courses from common everyday items and hopefully they will check in and direct you to their videos/photos!

You may have noticed the walking/hiking thread? If so, you may have noticed the variety of walks taken, from minutes to laps around a field, to portions of a mile or more. You and the kids may want to hop on in and share your times! It is very friendly and supportive!
 

MaryFlora

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Oh! PS. 😂

There is a book, Trickonometry by Carole Fletcher, that you may enjoy. I bought a used copy online to help with our mini donkey Madelaine and our communication. Madelaine, of course, feels she communicates perfectly, and it’s the person, not the donkey. I can’t disagree. 🤣

We have the kiss somewhat understood. Personally I think she’s just messing with me and knows perfectly well what to do! 🤣
 

Taz

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I'm going to second trying some trick training with him. It's a great place to start if you're trying to build a relationship and motivate him to want to do something. It sounds like he's a pretty layed back guy which is a great personality for you as you're starting with all of this but they can be harder to motivate. I haven't read the book that MaryFlora mentioned but a few people here have it and it sounds like a good one to start you out and take you along to more complicated 'tricks'. Do you have any pictures? We love pictures 😁
 

Kelly

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There are so many things you and the kiddos can do with your boy. I have the book MaryFlora has and it fabulous! Totally recommend getting it. You just have to be careful with treats and kids though, I dont want them to end up with any missing fingers!

Teach him to walk when you walk, trot when you trot, stop when you stop, and back when you back.

You can set up obstacle courses!! Flags, kids swimming pool with water or empty water bottles, teeter totter, walk through streamers.


Hula hoop have him place his front and/or back feet inside hula hoop, whoa, ground tie, & walk around horse.


Yall could teach him turn on forehand, haunches, then side pass. Poles are always fun, not just for going over but also for side passing, backing in between. Jumps are fun too!

You could start ground driving him.


You can take him hiking, roller skating, and to nursing homes….even Petco, Home Depot and other stores.

Agreed, we need pics 😍
 

Chloesmama

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Thanks everyone! He actually is seeming more open to direction every day! I will also pick up that book! Sounds like lots of good info. Keep them coming if anyone has additional ideas!
Here is our cutie, Skye.
 

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Another super great feed! Thank you, awesome community. I also ask my minis to back out of their gate to the grass paddock and do flexes on both sides. I think backing up, makes them think and trust you. I sometimes put a lead line around their butt and on the other side, pull a little, so they unravel themselves and make themselves think and stay calm. I stretch their feet forward to get them used to the farrier, try new treats like 1/2 of a watermellon, sprinklers, those joy balls with treats in them, giant yoga ball to push around and braid their mane and tails (I do think that that relaxation and touch is soothing to them). : ) Good luck and have fun!
 

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