MAKE MINE A MINI
“Oh, how cute!” the woman said, petting Kiwi, our miniature horse's head. “Does he live in the
house with you?”
I glanced at my husband, trying not to laugh. A horse in the house? Now I've heard everything. That
one definitely goes on the silly questions list.
“Ah... no,” I replied. “He lives outside in a paddock with a barn.”
“But, he's so small,” she said, shooting me a look like I was a cruel monster.
Miniature horses, though small in stature, are without a doubt, big on the adorable scale. But none-the-less, they are horses. And being horses, they should be treated as such.
Throughout the past eight years that we've been miniature horse owners, my husband and I have
come across many people while we've been out and about with our two minis. Most stop to run
their hands over our horses' soft coats, and comment on how cute they are. But we've also encountered those whose comments and questions have left me baffled. One that comes to mind is, “I guess its cheaper than a lawnmower.”
If only! Since the lawnmower in question is a living creature and not a machine, he needs a lot more
than gas and the occasional tune up to stay healthy and happy. He needs good quality feed and hay,
along with his yearly visits to our friendly neighborhood veterinarian; not to mention the inevitable late night medical emergencies. His hooves need to be trimmed every eight weeks, and an annual trip to the dentist keeps his teeth in good shape. And unlike a lawnmower that can be loaded into the back of your vehicle after purchase, a mini, even though small, needs a proper horse trailer to transport him safely.
Please do not try to bring him home in the back of a van. He may fit, but it's dangerous for you and
your horse, and it's illegal. Also, while your garage may make a good home for your lawnmower, it's
not suited for a horse. He needs room to run and kick up his heels when the mood strikes, which leads
me to the next question.
Not only dangerous to the horse, it's beyond cruel. A horse, no matter the size, needs room to roam.
To keep your four-legged friend happy and safe, you should have a good sized paddock and a barn or
run-in shed to keep him dry and out of the elements. But before you run out to purchase a miniature
horse because you feel you have room and a old shed you can convert into a barn, please check to make sure your property is zoned for livestock, because even though they may be small, they're are still considered livestock. Also, check with your neighbors, because with every horse, big or small, comes, yes, you guessed it, manure. And with manure comes flies. For me, the smell of horses is more delightful than the most expensive perfume, and I worry more about keeping flies off my horses than myself. But it's not all fun and games when your neighbors are barbecuing outside and the smell of manure wafts over and flies land on their food.
Another popular question I've been asked is, “what good are they? What can you do with them?”
My answer is, “what can't you do with them?”
that's why you want to purchase one then maybe a larger horse would be better suited. But minis are
strong. Most can easily pull a small cart and two average sized adults. Carting can be a fun and
exhilarating experience. There's nothing like sitting behind your little horse as he pulls you along a
quiet country road on a summer's evening. If you want more thrills, try showing. There are many
different categories for showing your mini.
Talking to most owners of larger horses, they will tell you that after working to pay for their horses'
upkeep and the endless chores, it's hard to find the time to ride. Some even pay others to ride their horses for them.
Well, since one is a herbivore, and the other is a carnivore, I'd say they're two separate species. If
you don't believe me, take a look at their teeth. And if you still have doubts, offer your horse a
hamburger and watch his reaction. He'll turn his nose up and look at you as if you're out of your mind. Next, try offering a dog a handful of hay and guaranteed he'll give you the same look. So please, do not treat a horse of any size like a dog.
Another misconception regarding minis is they are just lawn ornaments. They are capable of so
much more than that. Like any horse, if left to stand idle, eating with no exercise, they will quickly become over weight, which as you know isn't healthy for any living creature. Also I believe horses get bored. Exercise and trying new things keeps their minds sharp and their bodies toned. This will help keep your vet bills low. But if carting or showing your mini is not to your liking, take them for regular walks. They will enjoy the change of scenery and it'll keep them and you moving.
occasional dirty looks. Instead of telling her it would be cruel for me to keep him in the house, and that Kiwi is happiest outside with his horse buddy, Ebony and his goat friend, Cody, I just say, “yes, but he
is still a horse.” The of course I keep to myself.