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Discuss Training Miniature Horses at the Horse Training forum - Horse Forums.

I would like to know more about training miniature horses. First, yes, I understand even ...
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    Training Miniature Horses

    I would like to know more about training miniature horses.

    First, yes, I understand even in a small package, they are still horses, but I would assume you would have to modify training some based on their size and weight, the same as you would not train a Welsh Pony in exactly the same way as a Shire. And yes, I understand it is an individual thing with each other as well.

    I have not had much luck finding pages that focus on training Miniature Horses and exampling the differences you might have to make. For example, you cannot train them under saddle, obviously. In some cases, they may never even have a bit in their mouth (unless they are planned to be used in driving I suppose).

    And few I have found, basically advocate training Miniature horses like dogs, which personally I do not see as correct. They are little horses/ponies, not dogs. This does not mean they are not smart, quick to learn, or anything like that, but they are not going to react and understand in the same way a Poodle or a Lab is going to.

    So, how do you train a miniature horse with regards to treating it like a horse, but taking into account you will have to modify it some due to them not being able to be ridden and much smaller than most horses.
    One cannot blame a horse for behaving like a horse.


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    Senior Member+ mftx4's Avatar
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    Have you ever trained horses? I'm not going to asume anything, but what makes you think the training would be different?

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    I would not call myself a "trainer", no. I have helped with training and dealt with some manner problems.

    If you are asking if I have trained any "rank" horses? No.

    And I am assuming different because they are much smaller and simply put, you cannot work them in the same way as a larger horse, due to their size.

    For example, if they are barn-sour, I cannot saddle them up and work with them under saddle until they are more quiet. I would have to do that on a leadline, but I have been told that can be dangerous with larger horses because you can get shoved over, stepped on, or the horse can jerk free, hence you work them from the saddle if at all possible.

    Also, I would assume like foals and smaller ponies, Miniatures are a little more "delicate". I am not advocating jerking any horse around, of course, but I was always taught to be extremely careful not to stress the joints and necks of foals, for example.

    With a 16-hand quarter horse who was trying to rear up or strike, I would not hesitate to give them a firm jerk on the halter to pull their head toward their chest, or give them a good hard whap across the chest with a whip or the end of the leadrope if they were being dangerous. I do not think you can do this with a miniature since they are so much shorter, the angle would be off and you could risk hitting them in the eyes or face, something I would not want to do. And if they were trying to rear and I tugged at the halter, I would either be pulling them higher, or twisting their head at an odd angle, which is certainly not something I would want to do.
    One cannot blame a horse for behaving like a horse.


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    Senior Member Jess1025's Avatar
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    I have had minis for a few years and have trained them the same as any other horse. We had a yearling stud that acted like a stud and we taught him the same way I would with a full size horse, and actually for me it was easier because he wasn't big enough to scare me, if I wanted to I could have picked him up and held him down lol But we have another mini that is big enough to be ridden, i ride her, (i'm tiny) she is just barely registerable (by half an inch...) She was trained with a bit and a bridle, lunged, saddled, etc etc some minis YOU might not be able to ride but you CAN saddle break them and if they are quiet enough, kids can ride em... For the most part you train them the same...

    Here is a horrible picture of our little Debbie lol


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    Senior Member+ SaddleTrail's Avatar
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    I am working with my mini on alot of things because I want him to be a therapy horse. They can be broke to ride except you need a very small person. Most mini owners will tell you under 65 lbs for weight. If you are wanting to train for driving that is different for the weight issue.

    Here is a link to the best place I have found for answers on minis.

    http://www.miniaturehorsetalk.com/index.php?act=idx

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    Treat a mini just like a horse. They get into your space you get into theirs and push them out.

    You can lunge just like a regular big horse or free lunge.

    Do the same ground training.

    Minis WILL rear when upset/scared. It makes them bigger and it normally makes others back off. Don't fall for that trick.

    They're small. But they are STRONG!! They can pull more per body weight then a draft horse can. They can drag you around on your feet. You need to get them off balance when they do this so you can get your feet back under you. They may look delicate, but they are strong and sometime out right dangerous.

    I trained minis for 2 years. A weanling (who stayed a stud, still is), 2 year olds, 3 year olds and a 4 year old. Did the same thing with them as I would a big horse except ride. Trail in hand, jump in hand, driving, lunge on the line, free lunge, halter.
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    I'm not really sure what you are asking for, since you already seem to understand the situation. I trained both my mini's to have ground mannors and to drive. I can't really rememer a time (other then when I hit my older mini over the head with the butte end of a whip because he wouldn't pay attention to me any other way) when I ever treated my mini's other then I would my horses. Maybe I used less force when reprimanding them, but you have already stated that you understand that. I will admit that I have used their small size to my advantage. Sometimes they escape while I am bringing my big horse out and I will grab them around the neck or by the mane or tail to catch them.
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    Hmm, I guess I'm just asking how their size affects their training. Do they have less stamina? I assume you would have to scale down trotting poles, etc. for their stride.
    One cannot blame a horse for behaving like a horse.


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    Minis can go and go and go and go. Depending on the mini. Some have no stamina where as others are the energizer bunny in a small horse package.

    Trot poles do need to be spaced closer. Some minis can go over a regular ground pole with no problem, others are a little unsure with their feet or too lazy to pick their feet up enough to get over them and not trip.
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
    It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...

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    How do you deal with issues when the mini's height might be a problem.

    For example, if the miniature is trying to rear, how do you deal with it? For a larger horse, I move the head down and toward the shoulder, and move the hindquarters so they cannot balance to rear.

    With a miniature, how would that work? Their shoulder is considerably lower and I would not want to risk pulling their head at an uncomfortable angle or risk twisting their neck. The goal is to stop them from rearing, not to hurt them.
    One cannot blame a horse for behaving like a horse.


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