Circle R Miniature Horse Ranch
Horse Care Info.
We hope that you find the following
information helpful and educational.
Are you a Novice with horses in general, or just with Miniatures? This will dictate which route you may decide to take. Miniatures can be found at horse sales (sale barns), specialized miniature sales, ads in newspapers, ads in professional (miniature) magazines, the internet, and private miniature breeders.
The first thing you'll want to do is research. Ask lots of questions from several breeders before making up your mind. A good place to begin is by reading official publications.
The American Miniature Horse Association
publishes the Miniature Horse World.
It can be obtained by writing:
5601 Interstate 35W South
Alvarado Texas 76009
The American Miniature Horse Registry
publishes the Journal.
It can be obtained by writing:
81-B E. Queenwood
Morton, Illinois 61550
This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the most prominent names, pedigrees, and breeders. You will soon see the various qualities and characteristics associated with different bloodlines. They are varied and you'll want to be striving for specific qualities if you are interested in becoming a serious breeder. You'll want to ask the breeder for their show records and see the show records of the ancestors of their stock.
If you are considering breeding your horse (there is nothing nicer than a 15-22" newborn miniature in your yard), then you'll want to be conscious about the quality of the animal you buy, even if it is just for a pet. Look in the mouth, make sure the upper teeth meet nicely with the bottom teeth. Have the owner lead the horse in a straight line away and toward you at a walk and a trot, then from left to right and back so you can observe the side view. Is it's way of motion smooth. Did it plant it's feet firmly or did they rotate around or pivot? Ask about stifle and other leg problems in the ancestry. Is the overall appearance of the animal pleasing? If it's a stallion, are both testicles descended? These are all important considerations, even if you decide to geld, as surgery may be required if one testicle is not down.
Maybe your interests are not in breeding, showing or sales, but rather in a cherished family pet. If this is the case, it still pays to do a little homework first and talking to several local breeders is still the best way to decide before making up your mind. Ask a lot of questions on feeding, housing, exercise, veterinary care and price for your area.
If not stalling in a barn, you will need a deep, 3-sided shed open to the south to protect them from the wind, and a yard large enough to run in for exercise.
Feed a quality commercial grain per manufacturer's recommended amounts, 1/2 leaf or more of hay morning and night, with ample water (unfrozen) always available to them, and access to salt and non-ruminant mineral blocks are usually adequate. Check with your hay supplier to make certain no preservatives were added in the baling process.
Miniature horses, depending on their age, size and whether they are also on pasture, will consume in the range of 2 to 5 pounds of good quality hay per day.
Generally hooves of miniatures are trimmed at two month intervals. This may be necessary more often with younger horses while they are growing to assure proper leg conformation and gait. The requirement may be much less with some adult horses. Consult your farrier and care for them properly.
Horses are usually wormed on a two to three month routine with one of the modern wormers or fed the daily supplement that has a wormer included.
Veterinarians should be consulted for advice on annual vaccination programs for horses to prevent common diseases.
In the winter the miniature horse gets a very long coat and it can be very deceiving about how their weight is holding. It is important to actually check the horses condition by rubbing the fingers across the ribs of the horse just below the backbone. If a "washboard" feel is evident, the horse is probably underweight and the feed ration should be increased. Another good indicator is that they should feel flat or a bit cupped over the back and buttocks.
*Remember that each horse is an individual, and just like humans some require more feed and supplements than others for proper maintenance.
When going to buy a miniature horse, take your own yard stick and measure the animal while the owner holds him;/her for you. Was the animal easy to catch? Did it stand still while it was haltered? Are the horse's parents and grandparents on the farm? Do they look like they are within the legal requirements? A cute little baby will probably grow up to resemble its parents. Are the animals well groomed and their lots reasonably clean of excessive amounts of manure? (Keep in mind that if it's been storming or 30 degrees below zero, that a week's worth may have accumulated!) Check on the animal's vaccination, worming, and farrier records. Are its hooves a reasonable length or are they excessively long? Have they had at least one series of shots a year? Have they been wormed at a regular time interval? (Worming twice a year for older stock, every eight weeks or so for the youngsters.)
The better cared for and the more individually handled horses will make the best choice for the novice horse person, just as with any pet one would be choosing.
How much should you expect to pay? The amounts vary for miniatures just like they do for any other animal. Prices vary depending on size, color, pedigree and quality.
Miniature horses are like potato chips. You'll soon find you can't stop at just one!