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New Member
Nov 4, 2018
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Northern California
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and new to the mini world. A few weeks ago we rescued a pony out of the kill pens at an auction and now we just rescued a mini too. They gave us his registration application, photos of him as a baby and he is incredibly sweet. Sometimes I wonder if people who send their horses to auction realize they can end up in the kill pens?

Anyways, he is 8 years old, intact and missing an eye. We have only had him for about 24 hours but he doesn't seem to be scared of anyone or anything just really sweet and wants to be with somebody all the time. He has a cough and yellow green mucous out of his nose and his empty eye. I sent pictures to my vet and he told me to just go ahead and give him the same antibiotics that our pony has been on for her sinus infection. He's really dirty and needs a good bath but I don't know if I should give him one with his cough?

I have had horses my entire life but never a mini so any advice anyone wants to give me would be much appreciated. A few questions I have is does he need a blanket? We live in the foothills of Northern California so it isn't exactly freezing but it does get cold. He has a little paddock and a shelter but we do not have a barn with stalls.

The pony we rescued is a mare and once they are not sick anymore I would like them to be able to go play in our arena together. My farrier said he is a docile little stud so there is no reason he can't go in with her before he's gelded but isn't it possible for a mini horse to impregnate a pony?

I also would love to train him to go to hospitals and nursing homes. Especially places like Shriners because of his missing eye, I think it would make kids who are missing a piece of themselves feel good. Any tips on how to start that out and even determine if he could be a good fit?

He is pretty skinny but not a bag of bones, should I free feed him until he starts gaining some weight back? Also, I have a fly mask on him to help protect his empty eye. Does anyone else have any advice for taking care of a one eyed horse that has an empty socket?

Sorry for the million questions,

Thank you so so so much!




He s very pretty. I am glad you've taken him on and given him a new lease on life.

A mini can definitely impregnate a pony. However, she obviously would need to be in heat to accept him. I'm not sure about your neck of the woods but here my mares stop cycling this time of year due to the shorter days.

He does not look to thin judging by those photos. I wouldn't go on a mission to fatten him up too much. Measured amounts of good quality hay, some forage and a supplement like elevate. Maybe some flaxseed oil.

I don't know what to say about his empty eye socket. A vet would know.

Hope that helps a little.
A round of antibiotics is a good idea. I brought home a sale horse last month with the same symptoms. I would NOT put a mare and stallion together. he does not need a blanket. Shelter and free choice hay will keep him warm enough. A fly mask is a good idea. Have you had the eye examined?
I'd have your vet actually see him sooner rather than later about the eye, it should be accessed, and possible surgical intervention to close the socket so it's less likely to be a source of constant irritation and possible infection. Or at least your vet can look to see if the eye was surgically removed or it was an injury that went unattended.
For now, just good clean grass hay plus a vit/min supplement. Minis are measured at the last hair of the mane, rather than the top of the withers, so get a height on him, and we can help you determine a decent weight range for his size and build, so you have an idea how much to feed him (will also help with deworming). Lay your hands on him and feed through the hair, how easily can you feel his spine, hips and ribs. Easy to feel spine and hips, usually means more protein is needed in the diet; easy to feel ribs means they need more calories.
Minis should not be give Quest Dewormer, the safety margin is too small; if it must be used, get a scale weight, do NOT estimate or use a tape, and dose precisely for his actual weight.
Be very cautious with bute, as minis are more prone to the side effects, particularly stomach ulcers. It's another drug that should be dosed precisely for minis.
I second what Chandab said about having the vet out sooner rather that later. I also wonder if the eye has actually been removed or if it is an older injury and the eye has atrophied. If it has been removed and it is an empty socket, I believe a prosthetic peice can be put under the eyelid and the the lid stitched shut over it to "fill out" socket and keep it from catching dirt and crud in it.
I had a mare that was partially blind in one eye and she adapted fine, never missed a beat really, once she healed up.
Fly masks are great if they fit well and don't rub.

Good luck with him, it is awesome that you took him on. He is a lucky little fella.
Chandab, I didn't know that about the Quest dewormer. Can you expand on that a bit? Which product should I be using instead?

Pretty much any other dewormer is safe, it's just the Quest (active ingredient moxidectin) that has the very low safety margin, only like 2x dose by weight can be harmful, whereas ivermectin is like 10x dose by weight is usually safe. Second page of this link states to use extreme caution when using Quest in Miniatures:
Thank you Chandab. I did not know this. I usually treat them with Zimecterin Gold which has ivermectin and praziquental? but I've used Quest when not available.
Welcome to the forum Tala :)

First of all , good on you for rescuing them from the sales. You have been given some great advice by everyone. You are very right, If your mare is still cycling, there is every chance your mini could in fact breed the pony , so I would definitely keep them separated until he is gelded.

I would also recommend the vet , to look over the eye and do a full check up of both rescues. Regarding feeding him, I would start with plain grass hay.

I wouldn't start him on grain until his teeth have been checked. When you do start introducing him to grain, just do it really slowly.

Good luck with both :)
Hello Tala,

I am a Veterinarian in Texas and have raised minis for about 20 years and horses in general for my entire life which is more than twice that so I am quite familiar with the dilemma as owner and vet. Some days I seem to spend more time working on my own animals than at the office. I have had a ranch with cows and the whole thing at one time or another. Nowadays I have limited it to 3 very sweet lawn ornaments (otherwise known as my minis) so I have more time to just dote on them.

The basic care of the mini is very similar to standard horse as far as health. Kudos to you for saving them. As per your pony and mini breeding--keep them separated even if she is not in heat because silent heats happen and he can also put her through stress just trying to mount her even if she is not in heat. In general terms rescues do need examination by a vet but regardless both need deworming with either an ivermectin type product or one of the oxibendazoles or fenbendazoles type dewormers. There are alot of different brand name and generics but those are the three main ingredient type dewormers. You go to the feed store or order them online in a tube that contains a paste that you administer orally. There are markings on the side that lets you dial a weight to dose them. They sell tape measures that you place around their bodies to gauge their weight but you have to get the ones for a pony not a regular horse. These dewormers are fairly safe.

Do not use the Quest or moxidectin dewormer because it is too easy to overdose a mini and you can very easily make them sick.

As for the eye. Needs to be looked at by a vet for final disposition but until then keep it clean around the area with just warm water to remove any crusts. If you need to you can put just a tiny amount of vaseline and I mean tiny amount at the lower edge of the eye and below it to keep drainy material from crusting and sticking to the hair and skin. Only apply it if needed and make sure you keep it cleaned and wiped down to prevent buildup. I do not know if you have flu problems but you can put a small amount of fly spray on a rag and rub it from a rag onto her forehead to limit flies from being attracted to the head.

My stud came from someone who thought she knew what she was doing and had hundreds of horses as a breeder. He was three and already nearly crippled because she had no clue how to trim his hooves so he had retained soles and limb curvature of his front legs because she cut him at an angle. He also had an untreated corneal ulcer. So I bought him because I wanted to make sure he at least had a good home. He has a scarred cornea and persistent drainage from the eye just enough to attract flies and need to be wiped up everyday but he is perfectly sighted. It took 18 months to get his hooves into anything close to normal but he will always have some curvature to his legs but I love him anyway. I trim their feet but I have been trained to do it.

The antibiotics will likely help clear up the nasal drainage but if the eye has been damaged to the extent that the sinuses behind it was damaged and the nasal drainage was affected which is the cause of the stuff your seeing coming from the nose then it may come back once the antibiotics are stopped.

Best way to keep them both healthy is a good diet of high quality hay and either a pelleted or sweet mix--either is fine. This is where the mini is different from the standard horse. BE VERY CAREFUL!! DO NOT OVERFEED. If you notice they are spreading out like a barrel and can't see a rib--lower their feed access. Decrease the grain first and then their hay. The hay usually does not make them fat. Pasture can but not usually hay. Check their feces--it should be nicely formed balls if their diet is balanced right. If it is too rich then it will be softer or runny. Too dry then too much hay or not enough water. Make sure they have a salt block and access to water. Here is a link you might find helpful, It has some info on misc things regarding minis I do not promote them I just think some info is helpful

As far as shelter they just need a wind break usually. I find mine eating whatever they can find green out in the pasture when it is 20 degrees and raining while they have good coastal hay in a barn enclosed on 3 sides. On other days it could be 65 degrees and a mild sprinkle occurs and they run for the barn like a monster is after them and they scream from the barn and bang on the gate demanding I feed them because they are starving. Go figure. If they hear me walk outside my back door they will run from the back of a 3 acre green pasture in the summer and beg at my backyard gate for their apple cookies. They literally do beg by pawing at the gate and trumpeting. Yes these are my very spoiled, very loving babies.

When you get yours all better there are many many steps to go through to get a therapy horse trained and lots of info available. Sorry I was so long winded. Its saturday morning and raining. Hope it helped.

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