ponying your mini off big horses?

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Well-Known Member
Aug 12, 2005
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Clovis, NM
I am famous for ponying horses to exercise more than one at a time (a must when you have 5 horses to ride) Seeing as though I am getting my little one soon (17 days, 3 hours, 45 min...LOL) I was curious if any of you have tempted this. My rope horse is a great ponyer (is that even a word LOL) and would like to give short stuff some light exercise and get him used to "the out side world". We have 300 acres of field that I condition the big horses on. Just curious..thanks
NO!! Sorry to shout, but there is no way I would do that!!!! Minis can walk right under big horses. Too dangerous, in my opinion, and I have big horses, one that is pretty much bombproof that I've owned for 14 years.

Why not train him to drive? Or handwalk him? Those are much safer options, and will give you more of a chance to interact with him one-on-one.
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he isn't old enough to drive and like I said when you have 5 horses to work I sometimes want to take an "easy" day and work two at once. All 5 horses get worked daily. As for walking him myself again time management on those "lazy" days. And those fields are hard to walk in with a bad knee and the road is to busy during harvesting. I don't want to lunge him at his young age. So I was just curious like I said in the first post. I agree with you about them being able to walk under the big horses. But do you really think they would while moving? I mean people put them out with the big horses don't they? Or do you guys? I'm not going to mostly because none of my ever go out together. Just asking your opinion
You can exercise him behind a golf cart, four wheeler, even a riding lawnmower (but not while you are mowing) It will save your knee and he will still get the benefit of a workout.
I let my minis exercise twice a day by turning them out and just letting them run. My personal preference: I don't let my minis near full size horses.
I agree with Stephanie--I wouldn't pony a Mini off of a big horse either, for the exact reason she said. Maybe the Mini wouldn't run under/in front of the pony horse, but it COULD. With that much of a size difference, you've got a fair good length of lead rope there, and that gives the Mini some leeway as to which way he can go. When you're leading a full size horse you can keep his nose pretty much at your thigh & have full control of him....with a Mini, it just wouldn't be quite the same. You might get away with it, and then again...you might not.

Until he's old enough to be actually worked (longe line, round pen, driving) I would give him plenty of turn out time where he can exercise himself. If you want him to have more exercise than he gets on his own I'd suggest that you put him into a larger corral & "work" him by keeping him moving around there. That's how we condition our yearlings & even 2 year olds.
I have ponied 2 minis off the back of my TWH mare with absolutely NO problems.. also mine are turned out with my 2 TWH's with again absolutely NO problems! My TWH's are very calm and passive. after a few minutes of the typical squealing and pawing they settled down with no problems. My mare thinks they are all her "babies" and loves each and every one of them. My other TWH is a gelding and is my Mares son. He also loves the minis and has even allowed the foals to try to nurse off of him. He just walks away. So I would say try to pony them right around the barn at first and if it works.. go for it.. if not well at least you will know you cant.
Big horses with minis some up very often.

I know some people will say they are fine, done it for years.

But the truth whether turning out, or exercising it's not a good idea. IMO.

One day inevitably there will be "high spirits" in fun, a "grumpy" moment,

or just an accident. Minis always pay the price.

You can try it and it might work for you for awhile, but a minor skirmish will always have the potential to be a BIG problem for the mini.

I have pondered doing this with my horses as well, but what has stopped me is personality conflicts. My mini thinks he's still a stallion and my big horse is a very territorial, strict, no-shenanigans gelding and I just KNOW that if the mini didn't take it into his head to rear and try to play with the big horse the Arab would decide Kody had done something rude and try to reprimand him while I was riding. And since I ride bareback I can just SEE me flying off at the end of a leadline.

I do wonder how people ride mares with young foals? They are also sometimes small enough to go under them, aren't they? Perhaps you could (very carefully) try ponying using an older broodmare if you have one?

Otherwise, I'd say try to get a friend to ride with you and put two leadlines on that baby, one from each horse and plenty of space between them. That gets rid of the "going under" risk.

Ideally of course, you'd just let him exercise himself and take him for long walks when you can just to bond and get him used to the wide world. Good luck!

Hmm....riding, probably not, unless you have some very rare non-kick horses and a good mini that knows what to do...

But driving...whole nother story! If you have a big horse that drives, you could potentially be able to pony the mini off the cart. On our carriage, you have to have two people to do this job, because it is a four wheeler and there is no way I could get to the mini fast enough in a problem situation. Have also ponied a big horse off the back of the carriage, one person driving, one person leading the other horse.
This is a foal, right|?? So why on earth would you be thinking of "exercising" a foal?? Sorry to be so blunt but I just think this is silly!! My weaned foals are running around in their paddock. They run and play and, until they are at least yearlings, that is ALL they will do. The two that are in go out to play every day and do just what they like. And, until they are yearlings, that is all they will do. As to "ponying" I have done this with the Arabs- but I always used a smaller pony, (areal Pony!!) and larger mares, I do not think I would attempt it the other way- the little one would be exhausted in a very short while. When he is a yearling- if you need him in show condition, I might use a golf cart- I never had, as I never have had to, but I suppose you could- I would have thought that was for someone who had too many to do singly, and, again, if they are not showing, they just run in the pasture.

Now, Minis with big horses?? Yes absolutely fine, no problems, nice quiet, trustworthy big horses, would not hurt a flea RIGHT UP TO THE POINT WHERE THEY KICK OUT, IN PLAY, AND KILL THE MINI STONE DEAD!! If yo do not mind that happening- and it happened to a friend of mine, and I know someone else on this Forum had it happen, then go on turning them out together- it is OK right up to the point that it goes wrong, there is no room for error- a playful kick among friends would normally result in, at the most, a minor lameness. When a Mini is involved it results in death.
Yes this is a weanling and no I don't intend to exercise him all the time...it wouldn't even really be exercising just more of a leasurly walk. It's more for "outside" experience. Getting used to different situations type of thing. I don't own a golf cart or a quad (hope to soon though) once I get one of those I will use that. If you read my post correctly you would have read that I don't turn ANY of my horses out together big or small. This question was out of curiosity...I didn't say I was actually going to do it. I know how difficult it can be to pony big with big. But thanks for everyones input.
NO NO and NO

There is no way and I mean no way on God's green earth would I ever pony a mini off of a big horse. There is absoulutely no good reason to do this. He can so easily get stuck underneath your horse's belly or legs. You are putting the mini in harm's way period. And a weaner at that.......bad bad bad idea. He's got plenty of time to become worldy. Try a nice walk.
This is something I would absolutely not do, even with my two quiet and sweet riding geldings. Just not worth the risk, if you think about what part of the body would get kicked if the biggie kicked.
Ok, I also wondered this. My mini is wonderful about keeping with the horse and 4wheeler. I did try and pony once and it seemed like it would be ok but I did worry about big horse stepping on my mini so I will probably not normally do it.

Thought my mini would love the nice trails I take my big horses on but without shoes I worry about that also...

Good topic..thanks
I wouldnt pony a mini from a big horse just for the fact that if the horse spooked, the mini would be flatened in a heartbeat.


I let Ernie ( 3 yr old 32" mini ) and Rodeo ( 5 month old pony/mini ) run loose behind when I take Molly or Charlie for a ride. They just love it! They fallow threw the whole trail ride so I exersize 3 at once... very handy.
I assume you have no cars or loose dogs around...both of which I have so I wouldn't chance it ever that is why I was curious about ponying....again just curious about other people doing it.
I'm sorry you got jumped on a bit by some people, you did post that you didn't plan on putting your mini in with the big horses and I wish folks would read more carefully before letting loose. To give them credit though, they are simply terrified by the idea that an innocent weanling could be flattened in a moment of play. It IS a scary thought.

Thanks for bringing up this subject. To be honest, I'd thought about it in the past and wasn't brave enough! LOL

Sorry it was my fault you got flamed.. yes I do keep my minis with my big horses. I DO NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS. The reason I see no problem doing this well I guess its because every since I can remember (I am 30years old i can remember since i was 5 or so??) my grandfather always kept his ponies and minis and big horses together he even kept them at times in with his cattle. and in all the years that he did that he NEVER NEVER NEVER had one get hurt or killed! yes there were the occasionally bumps and scratches but nothing else.. I even asked my mom about this and she said he always kept them together even when she was little. My grandfather was a coal miner and he even brought home some of the "pit ponies" back when my mom was little he would doctor them up and find them good homes. My mom also said that there were never any problems other than the initial settling of the pecking order fight when a new one was added.

So i guess if my grandfather can have such a good record of none getting killed or seriously injured then it must be ok.

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