Looking for a mini for a SoCal youth program

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Active Member
May 27, 2004
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Southern California
Hello! My name is Laura and I'm a junior high math/science teacher in Southern California. I currently have one horse, a very sweet Arabian named Ferrana (thus my screenname). She is my pleasure and local-show horse--and a very well-cared for pet.

Next year I plan on starting an equestrian club at my school. It has been my life-long dream to take high risk youth and pair them with horses; I teach in a low-income, high-immigrant district whose students have very limited exposure to the world outside their town.

While my mare is a doll and will be very well-suited for this program, at a "mere" 900lbs she is still very intimidating to nonhorsey folk, esp. kids. I would love to add a miniature horse (or possibly even a minidonkey) to my stable as a welcoming bridge to the horse world.

The program (tentatively called "Caballista," Spanish for equestrian) would meet 2-4x month. Initially it would be a time to study and read about horses. Students performing well on "Equizzes" will earn "Hoofpoints;" when enough of these points are earned, they will earn a trip to visit the horses and apply their knowledge in a hands-on experience. I am currently researching liability issues (and any tips are welcome).

I have contacted 4 breeders in the area, and thus far, none of them really have a match for the program. I came here hoping someone might know of a little one needing a home such as this. All that matters to me is temperment and relative health, meaning, I don't mind if the animal is blind, deaf, has a permanent limp, etc. as long as its overall health (and healthcare) is good.

I understand that making my introduction in a thread looking for an essentially free (or very cheap) horse may appear dubious, so if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks in advance for you help. I'm off to peruse the forums a little more and learn a little more about these wonderful little equines!


Welcome to the forum and CMHR!! You have a wonderful program in mind and sounds like you will be a success! I would suggest trying to find maybe an AMHR B size gelding. They generally cost less but are wonderful horses for people new to the equine world. Good luck and let me know if i can hellp

Thank you for the welcome, kaykay! I've been enjoying perusing the threads here.

Best lead I have for a horse just yet is a mini-appy mare, aged somewhere between 18-20. The breeder apparently can't get her in foal. She's very sweet, and they're askign $750. I know that isn't much at all, but it's still a bit more than I'm wanting to spend. But if nothing else it might be nice to go meet the little gal.

(I'm a little wary of the "can't get her in foal" thing--heh, I've known a mare or two that was given away for just that reason, only to show up with a foal at her side 11mos later!)

I've been researching things like dwarfism and other problems associated with the breed so I know what to look out for. Again, I don't mind if the horse has medical problems, but I can't afford one with *major* medical problems.

Thanks for the tip on the size B gelding. I'll keep an eye out, although I'm pretty much keeping an eye out for anything!
OHHHHH email me i may know just the horse for you.. he is a baby unregistred and needs to be gelded but is as cute as can be..
Your program sounds like a wonderful idea. Glad to hear you are giving this much thought.

However, I am very leary of posts such as yours. How do we know you are who you say you are?

Now as far as liabilities: I had a boarding / training facility for over 20 years. I had posted that well known sign that says and quotes the law for your state , the Warning thing and also had tried to cover my rear in many other ways. I had everyone sign a hold harmless agreement, took a photostat copy of their insurance card, and also asked for them to carry an insurance on thier horses while in my care.

That being said, no agreement really will hold water when push comes to shove in a court of law if they want to sue you over a thing.

Although, they would have to prove NEGLIENCE on your part, the fact remains that if they have an accident on your property, all the hold harmless agreements in the world can't help you out. Because it was your horse on your property and you can't get around that one.

I also had troubles with them bringing their friends and family members including the little toddlers that were not "in hand" that wanted to visit as well. They would have to sign yet another paper just to come on the property.

And this was just getting down right stupid. Very very stupid.

I paid insurance premiums to the hilt. It got worse and worse. Finally after all those years I said that this was just costing me a fortune in premiums and really not worth my efforts any longer.

If it were only me on the property with their horse, that could have worked. But of course the people wanted to come see their horses and I no longer could keep this all up.

This of course is not fair. It's down right rotten that we live in the age of "i'll sue you to make some money"....sue this and sue that. That is how so many people I know get their money. From sueing others. And it just stinks. I don't know how we have come to live in a society so anxious to sue anyone over anything because it drives the little business guy out.

Would the school be willing to build you some type of facility where you can haul the horses over there for this program on designated days?

Then that liability would fall on them. Not on you.

Another thing to consider is that I know I would not want any "high risk" type of people at my home, around my kids and animals to fear reprisal if they got angry or out of control at any point. YOu do need to protect yourself from this.

I wish you luck in your endeavers though.

A thought for you may be to post an add up on the LB Sales board.

I also want to encourage you to seek out a public livestock auction and see if there are any horses in there that you can rescue from a horrible fate.

But before you do any of that. I'd encourage you to just hang out and learn, learn, and learn about miniature horses and their special care and needs and yes, problems before you consider doing this, before it back fires on you, it will take a lot more than a little research on your part, although I do believe that your intentions are good. A program such as what you have in mind I think is really a good one.

Reminds me of "Cell Dogs" on Animal Planet.
Marty, I totally understand (and expected) your reaction:

However, I am very leary of posts such as yours. How do we know you are who you say you are?
At this moment, you don't. That's why I'm going to just hang out and post and get acquainted with everyone. Really, anyone could answer a classified ad saying they running a program that doesn't exist as a guise to get a free horse--same problem, slightly different approach. To try and reassure those who may have a mini in need of a home but are concerned (and, I would actually hope they would be--I'd want them to want to know all about their little one's new home and owners!!), I will provide my school's address, my principal's number (I've already spoken with him about the program), as well as show where the new horse would live either in person, photo, or video, and refer them to any of a number of horse-related friends and professionals in this area that know me. I *think* maybe my horse neighbor and friend (who has a mini) judged a major AMHA show in West Covina last year--she could put in a good reference for me. (I think that was her...I know she's a local judge, but that show was before I met her and I just sat in the bleachers, so it's a sort of backwards referenced memory, if that makes any sense. ) I'll treat the whole thing as an interview process.

As far as liability issues, thankfully where the kids would go is a city-owned public equestrian park. The horses themselves are on private property, but would be walked to the park (we're talking about 20 feet). I spoke with a woman who runs riding lessons at the facility (and who is in charge of the riding club that is associated with it), and she said as long as it's on the park grounds, I'm covered. Not that I'm taking just her words for it! My principal has already asked about liability issues, and all of that will be hashed out as thoroughly as I could before the kids get anywhere near the horses. (My guess is the first field trip would be around October, so I have planning time.)

I really like the idea of trailering the horses to the school grounds. Hmm. You just may have given me very good food for thought.

Thanks for all your advice and experience!
the one thing i would lookinto although this is off topic for the rescue board especially in a very letigious (sp) state like So Cal is liablity ins. it is cheap to get for a million dollar policy which is what i think you need for a program like yours . can get thru any equine horse insurence agent, and will cover you your horses , any property they may damage and other people as well
I think you are very much on the right track. And you are right, don't take anyone's word for anything. Get your liability thing in writting. Get everything in writting. So that way, once your program is about to begin, no one can step in and take a wrench to it. This will take much preparation, so cover your bases carefully.

I think you are.

And this does remind me of "cell dogs" which is also a wonderful program. It's a win win situation.

Good luck and if I can be of service in any way just holler. Or yodel. Whatever.....
Hi there! I'm also in So. Cal. Have you been picking up the issues of HorseTrader? There have been some very reasonably priced minis in the publication lately.

Best wishes,

Thanks Hosscrazy.
I've been snatching up the Horsetrader as soon as it comes out, as well as checking the online classified ads. I've made several phone calls, gotten several leads, but thus far, nothing. A lot of what's out there is either too young or wrong temperment, and a lot of the people I called just plain didn't have anything matching the description. One guy rather gruffly said, "I don't know what you consider 'pet quality,' but our pet quality minis start at $1500." Maybe he thought I was out to hoodwink 'em, I dunno.

Anyway, I got in touch with a great network. It was hilarious...I called to answer one ad; she didn't have anything, so she gave me someone else's number...who had nothing, and gave me someone else's number...who had nothing, and gave me still a 3rd person's number! But that woman is on the board for the mini organization in her area, and I've been told she's who to talk to--if she doesn't have it, she'll find someone who does. After talking with me for a bit and getting a clearer idea of what I'm looking for, she said she'd put her feelers out.
She said a lot of times people who have nice pet-quality horses in that price range don't advertise for fear of the type of home a "cheap" mini would go to, so a sort of inside scoop is needed.

So...I just continue to watch, wait, call, and see!
Sounds like you're doing your homework! That's great - I'm sure you will find the "right" one. A friend of mine (also in So. Cal.) was browsing the Refrigerator section of The Recycler Newspaper and, of all things, found a stallion for sale + cart for $300 - in the Refrigerator section!!! She bought him, had him gelded, and he was the sweetest horse in the world! She named him Napoleon... so you never know!

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