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Mar 3, 2013
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Hi - I am thinking about bringing minis into my life. I am a life coach in Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching and also am a Reiki Master and my clients are all equines! I work with the horses at a really nice farm/stable but I am longing for my own horse companions. I have always loved minis. I need to decide if I can afford two minis. I think two are best. They would have each other and I could control their hay/food consumption because they wouldn't be sharing a paddock with other horses. (at the stable) That is very important to me. I have experience with an obese IR Morgan I have been working with. I don't want to go down that road.

What do I need to know about minis to make this decision? What I know is they are easy keepers. They need the same dental, trimming and vet care as the big guys. I have heard lots of things...they are stubborn and nippy. They are sweet and gentle. Perfect for kids. No, they nip kids! I knew one mini who was 38 inches. She was agressive when I first met her but she became much nicer over time. She was very mouthy and actually wanted to bite. She was also responsive and wanted attention, wanted to learn. I think I could have built a good relationship with her but it was a Shetland that I was asked to work with.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, information, experiences, referrals...whatever might be helpful in making an informed decision. I definitely want to provide a permanent home, so I need to be sure. Thanks!
They are horses, so will have the same needs as full-size horses. And, just like full-size horses they are all individuals. Many of the difficulties people have with minis, is they see them as "cute" and therefore don't treat them as horse and are lax in their training. Kind of like little dogs tend to get spoiled and many have few manners (not all, but its a similar issue).

There are a few big differences; don't give them Quest (Moxidectin) dewormer and be very cautious if you must use bute (know the horse's weight for accurate dosing). They obviously eat less than full-size horses, but still the same general rule of thumb of 1.5-2% of bodyweight in feed per day, majority as forage.

Welcome. Minis are like potato chips, you can' thave just one, so two is probably a good idea.

I think there are several factors in how a mini behaves. Their parents, how they were raised, the level of knowledge of who raised them and handling they got.

I'm always surprised that people who have met my horses always say wow they sure are sweet and friendly! They don't bite or act up. They are my kids but are treated like horses.

I think you should go places and meet them & visit in person. Different ones. Learn all you can. Maybe find two that were rasied together. Take your time in finding just the right new members of your family.

You have all of us as a support group!
Congrats on your decision! Check out the info on our website (link below) under the 4-H section. Also, I wrote a piece on "Before you buy a miniature horse" which I am inserting here: (Where the formatting isn't perfect but readable I hope).

Before you buy a miniature horse

Know what you plan to do with a mini so you can make the
best selection in terms of size, registry, etc.

Know if your zoning will let you keep a mini at home and research
the costs of ownership. Understand why a
"bargain" may not be such a bargain in the long run (it costs just as
much to feed a $500 horse as a $2,000 one).

If you don't know much about horse conformation, ask someone
with horse experience to help (doesn't have to be mini experience as horse
conformation is horse conformation)

Reputable breeder vs auction or Craig's list: know the
difference and let the buyer beware.

Registration papers - AMHA & AMHR are the most reputable
and well known; Falabella and Pinto are
useful; WCMHR is pretty worthless. Are
they in the names of the sellers or someone else? If not in name of seller, buyer beware! Get a
signed transfer with an ACCURATE height then measure yourself ASAP.

Line up vet and farrier, know their fees , and consider a pre-purchase

Know (and make sure you have) the health papers needed to
transport the horse (Coggins and health certificate at minimum for crossing
state lines).

What vaccinations has the horse had? Worming? Farrier work? Any health issues? Surgery?

Do you know how much handling the mini has had? What training? Is it easy to catch? Has it been stalled or turned out? Any chance a mare is bred? Why all this matters?

Have you seen the horse in person? If not, have you seen
photos (preferably recent) from several angles and the teeth, and a video of it
moving at a walk and trot? If it is
furry, can you see through the hair? (There are ways, but summer photos are

Why a $500 mini may not be a bargain.... (re-read above)

Visit farms, attend shows and talk to people who own minis.
Learn about ALL the things you can do with them.

Where will you keep it?
If you have "big" horses, how will you separate them for
safety? They can still be companions
without being in the same turnout. Think
of all the boarding barns that feature individual turnouts .

If you have pasture, do you also have a "dry lot"
or sacrifice area to keep the mini off grass if it gets too fat or is in danger
of founder?

On Target
Well, you are FAR and AWAY ahead of the game then where I was when we got our first mini in 2009!

What I've learned first and foremost is that most "bad" behavior is a result of bad handling. Just like you see with little dogs, people think stuff is "cute" when it's simply not...just uncorrected bad behavior. I was given the advice that you wouldn't let a 1000-1200lb horse get away with X, therefore you shouldn't let your 200lb mini get away with it either.

Even with our extreme lack of experience, all 4 of our horses are well mannered and have sweet tempers when it comes to us humans. I get rave reviews from vets, farriers and equine dentists. I had to take my oldest mare to a teaching hospital last year and they were amazed at how well behaved she was compared to the "normal" minis they saw on occasion.

Research, explore, visit. While you won't get the best breeding lines from Craigslist, I got 3 of my 4 that way. Would I start there if I was starting over for the first time again? No. But my girls are great. My silver bay does very well at our club shows in halter. My smokey black bay is going to make a great cart horse. And my 4 year old sorrel pinto is a sweetheart that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Decide on what's important to you, set your minimum requirements and go from there. And don't forget rescues!
Welcome to the Forum!

Everyone else stated what I would have, so I'll let that stand.

I think looking at getting two is a great idea - they can keep each other company. If you get them from different farms or even fromthe same farm but they've never been together, take your time introducing them. Some minis do well with "anyone", others do not - no different than the big horses. If one is unhappy with the other - they can cause just as much havoc and/or injuries as the big horses do... I know of one breeder that had a 3 yr old chasing a yearling and the yearling "ran into the feeder" - and was instantly killed by the head trauma. It was sad! I know that even though I have my guys separated by sex and somewhat by ages - they still "move each other around" - and can be very aggressive while doing so.

When you get your mini's - please post info about them for us! We love to see pictures.

and my "mini"s are all Shetlands - some up to 45" in height. Personalities and work ethics are all different - just as with humans and with "regular sized" horses. Some parents are the same as the foals, but most aren't... LOL.
good information all! Mary that's a good informative "before you buy" check list.

Hi MaryE! Since you initially said you want to make sure you can afford 2 minis, if by afford you meant housing, feed and care the answer would depend on your set up. Will the horse be living on your premises? Will it have pasture or depend on you solely for food?

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