Miniature horses are truly adorable. They are tiny and full of personality but don’t let their size fool you, as they still need lots of care. Fortunately, there are some great tips for caring for miniature horses.
Due to their small stature, miniature horses are prone to more health issues than full-sized horses. However, with the right care, a miniature horse can healthily live to be as old as 35. They can make wonderful companions for people of all ages.
5 Tips on Caring for a Miniature Horse
Miniature horses stand no taller than 38 inches and come in a variety of different coat colors and patterns. They are known for their kind dispositions and easy-going temperaments. They can be used for driving, show, therapy, or as companions to people and horses.
Owning a miniature horse requires time, dedication, and education. They often require just as much, if not more, care than a full-sized horse. However, with the right care, they can make wonderful pets to own.
A proper diet is vital for miniature horses as they can easily become overweight. Miniature horses should not have access to 24/7 grass pastures, as they are capable of easily gaining weight which can be detrimental to their health. Instead, they should be turned out in a dry lot for the majority of their turn out time.
Quality grass hay is a good foundation for a miniature horse’s diet. Some may benefit from a small amount of grain in their diet, but it must be given with caution as it can easily cause them to gain weight. In addition, a mini that is kept as a pet will need less food than one that is used for showing or working.
Routine Dental Care
Miniature horses are prone to more dental problems compared to most horse breeds. They have the same amount of teeth as full-sized horses, but they are squeezed into a smaller mouth. This often leads to overcrowding and other dental issues.
They are more prone to overbites and underbites, which in return can lead to digestive problems. In addition, miniature horses can develop sinus issues from dental problems. Miniature horses should have regular visits from a horse dentist to ensure their teeth are in good condition.
No matter what you do with your miniature horse, exercise is key to a healthy mini. An enclosure of at least 60 feet by 60 feet is recommended for your mini for turn out. They can also be exercised by driving, lunging, and walking.
Exercise not only keeps a mini at a healthy weight but can also help with their overall health. An active miniature horse is less likely to colic. Exercise also helps stimulate their mental health, keeping them happy.
One of the biggest issues for miniature horses is hoof care. Hooves that have not been properly taken care of can cause a plethora of problems. Most minis will typically go barefoot and generally only wear shoes for therapeutic reasons, in order to treat underlying issues.
Miniature horses should have their hooves trimmed every four to six weeks in order to keep their hooves healthy. Be sure to make sure your mini will behave for their farrier by having them used to people picking their feet and being around other people. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they are always easy to work with.
Regular Veterinary Visits and Proper Health Care
Miniature horses should be routinely checked up by veterinarians to make sure they are in good health. They should get vaccinations to make sure they are healthy. A veterinarian will also examine a miniature horse to make sure they haven’t developed any of the health problems they are prone to.
Some of the most common health issues miniature horses can have include colic, hyperlipidemia, and reproductive issues. Routine check-ups can ensure your miniature horse isn’t struggling with any of these issues. If you ever plan on breeding a miniature horse, make sure she is in good health before breeding and regularly checked on during pregnancy.
In addition, miniature horses should receive regular deworming. Deworming is an important part of any horse’s health, as worms can cause serious health issues. Be sure to regularly check your mini’s weight to make sure you are administering the right amount of dewormer.
Equine Assisted Therapy
Miniature horses can be wonderful equines to own for people of any age. They are adorable, loving, funny, and have great personalities. However, it is important they have the proper care in order for them to live a happy, healthy life.
About the Author
Guest blogger, Michael Dehaan is founder and editor-in-chief at Best Horse Rider. Based in Oklahoma, Michael has been working with horses all his life, acquiring rich experience and professional insights, which he happily shares with other fellow equestrians.