I have a lot of questions

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New Member
Feb 23, 2017
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I just got my first mini. After my arabian gelding being semi-retried. Anyway, I have a lot of questions that I need help with, even through my mini is a horse i am still new to the size. Any way here is what I need help with

My min is a black and white paint. 12 years old and drives. However he has not been driven in a year or worked for that matter and I have been slowly working with him. Its only been 4 days.

The bit he is in now for his cart is a straight bar curb that I know he does not like, so I am looking to find bits at a low cost to try on him. I dont feel like spending $100+ on a bit that he may not like. Is there a place to buy used mini tack other than ebay?

I also wanted to know if there was sight that might have used mini stuff like blankets and so forth?

Right now he does not have any protection from rain, as I am not rich and cant afford to build a 1000 shed. I did look online and saw people build shelters for minis with pallets? Or is there a easier way?

Is there a way for me to build a transport box in the back of my pickup to take him to local events in the area? I have seen people do this were they build a inclosed box that fits into the back of the pickup truck then they have a ramp that they walk the mini up and down. I don't have money to buy a fancy trailer. Let alone a big truck to pull one.


Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2005
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NE Montana
Check out the free sale board that accompanies this group, there is a link at the top of the page (top center). There are several tack groups for minis on FB.

If you aren't in a very windy area, some people have luck with the cattle panel shelters, I'll see if I can find you a link, it would be at least a temporary fix: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/goats/190409-tarp-cattle-panel-shelter-pics-eric.html

If you can find a used one in good shape, you could probably modify and enclose a pick-up stock rack to fit your pick-up and haul your mini. Many people use mini vans. An older 1 or 2 horse straight load trailer in good shape could be fixed up to accommodate one mini, many aren't terribly heavy (just check the floor thoroughly, as that's their main problem area).

Marsha Cassada

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Apr 20, 2005
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Southwest Oklahoma
I buy my bits at Mini Express, french link. All my horses have liked the french link. I have seen a cattle panel arched, attached to T posts, with a tarp on it. A friend had an old playhouse that worked for her horse. You might see if any one is giving one away.

Keep us posted!

Ryan Johnson

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Feb 3, 2014
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Melbourne Australia
Welcome to the forum Freemare

Congratulations on the arrival of your new Mini , hope you have heaps of fun with him.

I dont think I can help in regards to rugs ect , being in Australia, but if your a member of Facebook there is often local horse groups that post for things to buy and sell.


Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2009
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Cameron, NC
Welcome to the Forum!

NICE, we love pictures of all minis, but I especially LOVE the spots. We haven't started our black and white colt in harness yet... Eventually, we will.

I can't post pics directly here anymore, but I have posted some links below each part -

Shelters - we now use the cattle panels for our chicken coops - partially because we were expecting to move them (not the easiest task) and partially because they were supposed to be temporary. Well, they've become somewhat permanent and work great! They are 8' wide at the base, the panels are 16' long and arched they are more than 5 - 1/2" tall (I can stand easily under them). I use two 50" panels that are joined edge to edge w/ no overlapping - so the "coop" is 100" long or a little over 8' long. I have purchased mostly the inexpensive tarps and because our barn cats climb on them, they shred and need to be replaced about every 12 months or so. I have had donated tarps and also expensive ones purchased used, at a lower cost.

chicken coop 1 -

chicken coop 1 front

I also use the cattle panels in combo with pallets for sheds that house feed, hay and tools. In a pinch, we've groomed our Shetland ponies in them and trimmed hooves - though it would be better for the sheds to be larger for that type of activity.

This shed was a real temporary solution when we moved our ponies from property we'd leased for 10 years to a temporary set up for almost 3 full months. The pallets are an "odd size" of 48"x48", so I was able to get them for $2/each. I know that it is 8' deep & wider than 8' but never measured so don't know exact width. It's tall enough for me to stand up in. The 2 panels for the roof are not new. The whole set up is strapped together with hay string...

shed1 - a, shed1 - b, shed1 - c

We liked it so well that I put two together on our new property. Eventually they will be bolted together and the panels joined by more than hay string. Thought I'd do some different things for roofs, but haven't gotten that far - just use them as they are!

shed2 - a, shed2 - b

This shed is a measured 8x12 and is getting ready to be expanded to 12x16. I did put steel posts in the ground and dropped the pallets down over them to hold them in place better in the front only. There are a lot of different ways you could do a gate or a door - I used what I had, LOL. Shed 2 and shed 3 have now been in constant use for a little over 2 full years - w/ just haystring holding them together. They've withstood the torrential rains & winds of Hurricane Matthew & several other storms that really should have been named plus 4 severe ice episodes - 2 in 2015, 1 in 2016 and 1 in 2017 (shed 2, by the boys' pasture, did have it's tarp roof shredded and also some shift to the walls, but not bad considering it isn't bolted together or on a foundation).

shed3 - a, shed3 - b

Before trying different bits on your little fellow, have his teeth looked at. If it's been over a year since he's been worked, it may have been at least that long since his teeth were done. A lot of horses do just fine with a straight bar or mullen mouth bit... Then follow what everyone else has stated to do. Here in NC, we now have two HUGE used tack sales every year in Raleigh. Selling tack, bits & pieces and some of our 3 daughters's used show clothes (most of which we purchased used), we made over $800 in 3 years. I also purchased many, many items at this sale and it gets bigger every year!

I have, on occasion, found horsey equipment by posting ISO ads in our local feed stores AND in the TSC's. Of course it helps that I have so many of those w/i 100 miles of us, LOL. I will carry post cards and our business cards w/ me any time I go somewhere new and post either items wanted, items for sale or just our pony farm card at new stores. I have gotten many things that way. Check with a local mini horse show club - drivers may be willing to loan out bits until you find what works for you - or may have them to sell.

Last, but not least, I have made a few bits using 1 - 2" steel rings purchased at a hardware store - but these are essentially straight bar bits as well - just bendable/soft.

Most mini horse catalogs have some different style bits for much less than the $100 you quoted... English tack stores will also carry pony sized bits that may work for you as well (though some of those are going to be "pricey" just by virtue of being from an "english" store).

Julie, who has been a part of this board, built a "stock rack" and carried it in her 1/2 ton truck. At one point, I thought that she had pictures, but I don't know where they are now.

I had (still have it but it's currently not being used) a "stock rack" built for a Ford Courier truck bed (have no idea how old the truck bed was at the time) for a couple hundred $$ (in 1997 - don't know what it would cost to do now). I don't really recommend hauling this way w/ a single axle - my hair stands up just thinking about how many ways this could have gone so wrong. The guy who built it put steel plates on the top of the bed of the truck which the "legs" of the rack sit in. The "top" consist of 3 "u" bars that can be pulled out of the tubes they are sitting in. The whole back (above the tail gate of the truck) will swing open and can be unpinned and completely removed as well. That is a 1/4 ton Mazda B4000 4x4 pulling it. We used it for more than 15 years here in NC w/ the Mazda, a Chevy Trailblazer (small/mini SUV) & our Ford Ranger (also a 1/4 ton) - mostly to haul feed, equipment and trash. It is too small and doesn't sit level if you hitch it to a larger truck, van or full size SUV. Right now the bottom (floor) is completely rusted out and we haven't been able to justify the cost of having it repaired - yet the axle and wheel rims are in good shape... Different photo album - here is probably the only pic I have of it -



Well-Known Member
Nov 5, 2011
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Arlington, WA
Right now he does not have any protection from rain, as I am not rich...
I'm not rich either, but still wishing.

I wonder whether you might receive more focused responses if you provided a general location/climate?

It rains a lot here in western Washington. Our minis have barn/stalls (unheated) but the minis are allowed outside 24/7, even the old blind guy. We don't blanket but we also don't ever shave. Sometimes I wince when they're out there getting themselves soaked and then rolling in the dirt. So your inquiry about shelter may very well be different from my idea of shelter. I keep a sharp eye out for rain rot and beyond that I let them do their thing. ...successfully, so far.


Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2012
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You've gotten some real helpful advice here already, but I'll add my two cents anyway. As for shelter, you may want to check with your local ag center in regards to minimum shelter requirements, zoning regulations etc. Here in CT, horses are required to have a wind block and cover from the rain/snow available if they need it. That could easily be erected with pallets, tarps, plywood even car ports. I like car ports as they're cheap, easy and portable. As already suggested, without any shelter from elements, the possibility of skin and coat ailments increases. As for tack and equipment, there are many mini and pony suppliers that offer quality equipment at affordable prices. I have made quite a few purchases for my minis from ebay. I think the most I've paid for a mini bit was $27 and it was a nice one, $100 seems high, unless you're buying hand-made, custom or specialty. I know how fast the price gets jacked at fancy saddleries, tack shops and shows, but for work, pleasure or schooling tack, you should be able to find what you need very reasonablly. I like National Bridle, Ozark and Star Lake. If you know brand names and makers and can get good close up photos, ebay purchases can get you what you need for a good price, especially because PayPal pretty much guarantees your satisfaction or refund. As for trsnsport, I move minis, sheep, goats and calves in the back of my suburban (suv truck). I have seen many different methods or moving minis safely in the back of trucks, vans and even cars! The key is safety, securing the animal so they cannot jump out or get hurt is critical, putting a mat or carpet on the floor so they do not slip and fall is key. I've seen people build crates/plywood boxes like straight stalls in the back of mini vans, put a stall mat on the truck bed floor, then put a truck cap over the bed and load ponies up and go. In a pinch, I've loaded them into the back of the truck cab, I sat on the seat behind the driver, stood mini on floor of truck cab and held the halter during transit. I've had customers cone to pick up minis and bring them home this way in the back seat of cars! They put a sheet on the floor to protect carpet, sat on the seat to hold the halter while mini stood on floor (helps if you slide front seats up to give leg room to mini in back). One lady used old sofa cushions to block the filly in and keep from kicking back windows because she did not have a passenger to hold the filly. She tied her lead to the handle above the car door.

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