Introduction - New here & to minis - need advice on first!

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New Member
Dec 2, 2018
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Chuluota, FL
Hi, I'm Alysia...and I already have a problem. ;)

I live in a horse neighborhood with no horses of my own on 1.22 acres and have just discovered mini horses! Had I known there was such a thing, I would have 10 already I'm sure. My husband grew up with horses and livestock, and our neighbors have horses, but I am a complete novice. Our kids are 7 (girl - Cystic Fibrosis - loves animals) and 13 (boy)...somewhat interested.

I love animals, and this will be a fun project for hubby and me. (He's doing the building and the helping.) He's an Iraq Vet with PTSD. I think having him "show me the ropes" and help take care of the minis will be good for both our souls. He thinks it's cute...and he can be the one who knows what's up...which is rare in our 21 years. ;)

We're planning the fencing/shelter needed, and I hope to make a decision on minis in the next couple of weeks. Also, these will be pets and potentially for therapy down the road. No one is dying to ride or drive...just walk and tend. If I knew what I was doing and had a pretty pony, I might try a show.

Here are my questions/what I'm deciding between and want thoughts: (My big horse neighbors are kind of only being naysayers...I think because I'm a rookie.) Some of these options seem crazy, so feel free to agree.

(Also, I am seeing a lot of those available through private people look to be obese and just not that attractive. Hubby wants one that at least looks good.)

- Beautiful breeder has a mini that I *love* the look of, but she is expensive and in foal due next Summer. Mare is 6 yo and produced show quality baby. Breeder makes it sound like the whole foaling thing is super, whoa. ($1800)

- Lovely mini couple being sold by a private family; 2.5 yo and have been handled by kids from the start. Seem nice and do not share the same bloodline. Stallion has not been gelded yet. ($1000)

- One or two mini colts - super cute - very gentle and are shown with their leads on, etc. ($750 for both)

- Rescues - localish rescue has several minis of various ages and considering one as a start or as an addition down the road - one is a sweet, rideable pony. ($400/each)

Opinions/experience appreciated! Going for visits next weekend. Cost is a consideration but so is the right fit.

Also, as we're working on fencing, does it all need to have no climb? We have horse fence on two sides already up (neighbors), but they will not allow us to attach no climb. We cannot have any issues with minis crossing the divide. Neighbors are super grumpy!

We were planning to do 2 x 4 with no climb basically right next to their fences and create an initial space. We have a little shed/barn for shelter. (We're in FL, so it's not cold hardly ever for long.) We have areas for shade also. I am hoping to have everything fenced properly so that they have full run of .75 acre because that just seems like it's better.
Hi Alysia,

Welcome to the forum and to the world of Minis.

Firstly , I wouldn't be buying a mini on "looks" , I would be buying one on temperament and nature, especially since you have children. Whilst they may be small in stature, they are very much "horses" and definitely not a "toy".

I would steer clear of stallions, colts and mares in foal for a first mini. Seeing you have horses all around you, One mare in season on your neighbors property could turn your lovely newly purchased colt into a teenage boy and I would be worried for your kids sake.

Definitely steer clear from the pregnant mare and DO NOT listen to the person telling you foaling is easy, cause it isnt.

Pricing really varies ( well it does here in Australia) . My fencing consists of ringlock fencing and I also have electric tape on the insides for those who like to rub their behinds ( and most will)

If I was buying for my children , I would go for the "mini" that loves to be brushed, one that is a little older and has been there and done that.

Good luck and keep us posted
Hi Alysia,

An exciting and busy time in your life! Ryan has shared really wise advice on choosing your mini. As a grandparent who has shared minis and horses with my children and then their children (our grandchildren), I couldn't agree more with Ryan's advice on going for the mini that loves to be brushed and knows 'stuff'. These experienced minis are worth their weight in gold.

The older I get ;) the more I appreciate the solid temperament of our little herd. Having horses is always an adventure full of the unexpected, such as:

The escapee a pregnant mini - at night - in the pelting rain - on a dark country road..

A pony that sliced open a tear on her belly in some mysterious fashion needing stitches and a vet visit and follow up care...

The trustworthy mini that bolted one windy Spring day because the adult in charge (me) wasn't paying attention, leading a merry chase down an all purpose recreational trail....(got my steps in that day!)

The dirty gelding at a wash stand being shampooed by the darling granddaughter who forgot to fasten him to the tie - he took off down through the stables with said darling belting pell mell behind him.....

Good times! :D

All of the above minis are still with us, aging gracefully, and still being lightly used and heavily loved. You will never regret getting the mini/pony you can 'just' walk up to and enjoy!

Best of luck!
Thank you for your wisdom and advice! Exactly the reason I like to do my homework. I’m continuing my search and taking time as a learn more. I have some visits at rescues this weekend and a horsemanship class (just for me) next week.
Rescues can be a good way to go if the rescue organization is reputable. They can always provide "back up" support if you run into any issues you have questions about and most are happy to take the animal back if it is a bad fit for whatever reason. Just make sure the rescue is a real rescue and not someone who flips horses under the guise of a rescue. They should have an affiliation that is a 501.3 or something like that that designates them, if I remember correctly.
I adopted a mare through the SPCA and it worked out great. I also volunteered at two. Hard but rewarding!
Husband and I are both prior military (no PTSD) but my husband was afraid of horses so I started looking at mini’s as a less-threatening alternative. We bought two mini’s at the Nordstrom daughter bankruptcy auction in 2011; I think the horses were of decent bloodlines, but no registration. My profile pic is the stallion. He’s still alive, the mare got sick in less than 60 days; we had a vet on-scene within 12 hrs (vet lives catty-corner to me; less than a mile.) Whatever it was, it affected her nervous system so in less than 24 hrs we had to put her down. Sucked; also cost money (vet fees/body disposal.) Lesson learned: Get a vet check. The auction people purported to have given a full check, vaccinations, etc. but the only thing I had on paper was the Coggins test. So my advice... get a full vet check and make sure it’s documented.

So there I was with Nicky (the stallion) acting like he was going to die or something; laying down flat in the mud for hours, not eating; I was panicked and wanted a horse, any mini, but preferably a gelding. I called every mini horse farm I could find on the west coast on my sucky (at the time) dial-up internet connection. I had the truck/trailer ready and time-off set up for the husband to drive and was willing to pay pretty much anything (err,well, 2-3K was my limit) ...couldn’t find anything until I stumbled on a Craig’s list mare. She was cheap, untrained, and really hard to get in the trailer. She was also a really good jumper; we put her in the stall and left the top part of her stall door open for ventilation because it was hot that day. Overnight, her little 32-inch self hopped over the 4-ft stall door and joined the stallion; he was pretty happy; she got pregnant.

We had vet checks and all, but the vet mis-timed the due date so the mare delivered her baby on her own. At the time we still had the stallion in with the mare because they got along and we thought we had a few more weeks. When we found Coco with her foal the next morning, Nicky (the stallion) about ran me over when I was trying to get him away into another pasture, he was so afraid of the mare. Anyway, despite our (humans) stupidity, all ended well and we got the most lovable, pretty Baby (that’s her name) out of the deal. Not too sure that’s the best way to do mini horse pregnancy; I think we got lucky, because mini’s are reputed to have delivery problems.

My husband is no longer afraid of horses. My initial ulterior goal was to get a riding horse after my husband got accustomed, but now I don’t know that I ever will. I’m happy with the minis.
Hi, welcome to the forum!
I live in Florida, have a few for sale but do not think they would fit in with your needs at this time. Be wary of sales pitches and take your time, there are a lot of good mini people here in Florida but there is also another element. Return more than once to look at a horse again you are considering, second and third looks are helpful in deciding. A friendly horse matters, but one that is always nosing you looking for a treat, being pushy, I would find a negative factor for a child.

This is my story of getting into minis. I bought my first mini 32 years ago at a very large mini auction in Ocala, many breeders and about 50 horses. I looked at and touched every horse there, was intending to get a mare, but the one I selected was a 4 year old 31" stallion, a little underweight shaved closely and I could see his bone structure easily (!) .He was so calm in all that noise and excitement. It may sound like a movie plot, but we had a connection and he became my best friend and my all around show horse until he died of cancer at the age of 27 years. My grown daughter met me at the auction and I did not tell her which one I picked and sent her to look them all over and pick one, well of course she picked that little stallion and it seemed fated.
I tell this because sometimes your gut feeling matters and in my case I just KNEW. This horse I kept as a stallion and any child could run up to him to pet him and he never spooked or forgot his manners, he was very patient with children.

Ryan's advice is on the spot. Remember, manners matter. best of luck to you.
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