In spite of their undeniable beauty, it does seem that the miniature horse never does receive the attention it truly deserves. Could it be a sort of discrimination based on height? It might. All we seem to talk about are those big Appaloosas, but never say anything about the minis.
This lack of attention towards the miniature horsey could also be due to it being “just for show.” Really. Have you ever been to fairs in America and noticed a huge crowd gathered in a single area? I’m willing to bet that those people were looking at a mini. And yet, apart from this, the little ones have no real use.
Miniature horse invasion!
We’ve decided to break this habit and talk a bit more in detail about the basics of miniature horse care. Just as they are different from ordinary horses, the miniature versions also need different methods of caring. So, here is what you need to know:
Building a Mini House for the Mini Horse
One of the first issues that need to be tackled when it comes to Miniatures is housing. This is something that must be dealt with even before you actually get the miniature horse. Caring for mini horses requires first and foremost an adequate shelter from the harsh weather conditions that may appear.
Mini horses, just like ordinary horses, are quite hardy, and can easily adapt to any form of weather. With a little help, of course. While in the summer, you can easily keep you horse in a pasture. In there, it will have space and sunshine to be able to play as much as it likes.
For practical reasons, you still need to have a run in shed where the horsey can go whenever the clouds are covering the sky. In winter, keep your horse in a stall in the barn. Be sure to make the walls of the stall just tall enough so that the horse can easily look over it. Also, it’s very important that the barn be adequately airy, as their closer-to-the-ground position makes minis more vulnerable to drafts.
What to Feed the Miniature Steed
Of course, the second most important issue is what to feed the small horse (which, attention, is not a pony). Just like other horses, miniatures can survive easily on a diet made out of hay and grain. Unlike other horses, these little ones have a tendency to… eat too much. Have you ever seen an overweight miniature horse?
Well, now you have. So, to prevent it from becoming like that, two to three daily feedings should suffice. Also, provide them pretty horses with water as much as possible. Make sure the water is clean. Also, talk to your vet about the little horse’s diet, as every single horse has different needs.
Groom the Mini Horses
Of course, like with all horses, mini horses also need constant grooming. This keeps their hair nice and shiny. Be sure to use a gentle brush, and never comb against the normal direction of the hair.
Horse owners must remember that grooming is one of the most important rituals that influences their relationship with the horse. No matter if you take your mini-horse to shows, if you keep it as a companion, or if you just breed little horses, you still have to take out the brush as often as possible. The bond that this creates between human and horse can be extremely powerful, so never neglect it. Also if you forget to groom your horse for a longer period of time, its hair may become tangled and if you’ve ever tried to untangle horse hair, you know why this needs to be avoided.
Brushing tangled horse hair is not only unhealthy for the horse, as you can end up removing a lot of it, it’s also painful for the little steed. It can also potentially ruin any friendship between you and the horse
Mini Horse Hoof Care
When taking care of your miniature horse, you need to pay even greater attention to its hooves than you would with a typical, normal-sized horse. First and foremost, you have to take the miniature to a farrier from a very young age. There, its hooves need to be trimmed to exactly the right proportion so that the little one grows up nice and straight.
Clean the hooves of all the excess dirt and little rocks that get stuck there. For this, you should use tools especially designed for mini Horse. Furthermore, the farrier you decide to visit needs to be specialized in Miniatures, or at least have some sort of experience with the big horses’ little brothers.
A Mini Steed with Teeth of Steel
Well, not really, but dental care for miniature horses is also extremely important. Set up a schedule for their teeth to be checked every now and then by a professional veterinarian. Although it’s not that common for infections to appear, this still is the case from time to time, and the mini’s teeth are extremely difficult to treat or remove. If you don’t take care of your horse’s teeth, it could have potentially traumatizing effects and it could severely worsen your relationship with it.
CREDIT: Eli Meir Kaplan for The Wall Street JournalTEETH
Equine dental practitioner, Carl Mitz, holds Little America’s Feather Even Star’s tongue while he inspects the horse’s teeth on Thursday, December 10, 2009 at Little America Miniature Horses in Buda, Texas.