Miniature horses are a wonderful addition to your life and your herd, but did you know they have special care considerations? Let's look at what you need to think about when owning a mini, and common mistakes.
Feeding mistakes are very common in new owners of minis. It is important to feed your miniature horse by weight, not volume. Use a weight tape, or ask your vet to give you a good idea of your mini's weight. Many people overfeed their mini by feeding them as though they are a 1000lb full sized horse, when they can weigh 1/4 of that size, or even less.
Alternatively, some owners believe their mini can thrive on poor quality grass hay alone. Minis need vitamins and minerals, and a balanced diet, just like their bigger counterparts. Using a mineral block, a vitamin/mineral supplement, or a fortified grain in proper amounts can ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Many minis have highly efficient metabolisms, and cannot live on lush pasture 24/7 without the risk of founder. Monitor your miniature horse carefully when on grass and adjust their graze time if they become obese.
While it is true you have to monitor your mini's intake of grass, it is also important to make sure your mini gets plenty of turnout, whether on pasture or a dry lot. It is a common misconception that minis do not need space to run and exhibit natural equine behaviors. However, proper space in turnout is just as important to a mini as it is to a full sized horse.
Being cooped up excessively can cause issues with behavior, lameness, hoof health, digestive health, and other problems.
Miniature horses are small in stature and highly intelligent - a perfect combination for an escape artist! Make sure your fencing will contain your mini, and is low enough where they cannot duck under. Also consider woven fencing or grid fencing that may not be a hazard to full sized horses can risk your mini getting their tiny hooves hung up or stuck.
It can be easy to let your miniature horse decorate your pasture with minimal training or exercise. But ensuring your mini gets trained to be safe to handle and work with is very important. Also providing them exercise while being trained gives them many health benefits and gives their mind a workout, too. Many lameness issues can be prevented or minimized with proper, regular exercise.
A mini who is trained to be safe for its handler, and receives regular exercise, will be happier and healthier. It also provides a wonderful bonding opprotunity with your pint sized friend.
Minis are great fun and fantastic companions. Keep the above suggestions in mind and you will have a lifelong friend in your miniature horse.
The Info Pony