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Raising miniature horses

Bigger isn't always better

My folks have had miniature horses for years and they are the most adorable creatures. Their names are Dolly, Biscuit, and Apache. Miniature horses were first used to pull coal from the mines because of their stout build and the ability to pull loads many times their own weight. Their coal days are over, but minis are still incredibly strong. My mom trained Biscuit to pull a driving cart.

The Weeda family of Tingley, Iowa, also raises miniatures and shows them. BreAnn Weeda says there is a standard height requirement for the breed.

"Miniature horses need to be under 34” tall. That is measured from the last hair on their mane," says Weeda. "We specialize in horses that are basically under 30”, we like the small ones. It’s a little tricky because in shows the bigger horses do better in the show ring, but the smaller horses are worth more money. Usually the babies start around $500. The little boys are worth less than the little girls are."

They may be small, but they’re still real horses. Caring for minis is similar to their full-sized cousins except you don’t need a lot of space. About an acre is sufficient. Some people like to keep them in the back yard as a lawn mower.

Feeding them is simple because pint-sized horses also have pint-sized appetites.

"They typically eat about a teacup of food twice a day, either oats or special grain pellets for horses," says Weeda. "You can give them a handful of alfalfa hay twice a day as well. Or, if you just have a pasture, they can be out on pasture all year long as well."

Miniatures are great for people who want a horse, but are unsure about handling a-thousand-pound animal. They’re very gentle and easy to work with, and are becoming popular animals for therapy with children and adults.

Get the latest news for miniature horse enthusiasts at the American Miniature Horse Association

Find a miniature horse breeder near you

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