5. They are not always great pets for children. Some are, if they have been well trained. But, too often we see skittish minis surrendered to us because they were fearful of (or aggressive toward) the young children they were intended for. 6. They founder very easily. The greatest challenge in keeping mini horses is providing them with enough space to get exercise without providing them with too much lush grass. Too much grass causes laminitis, which is excruciatingly painful to them (imagine your leg bone poking through your foot) and becomes a chronic condition. 7. They live a long time (25 – 35 years), so owners need to have a long-term plan for their care. So, would I recommend that you add a miniature horse to your family? Absolutely, so long as you have the time, the energy, a dry lot for spring and fall, ample space for exercise and play, at least one other equine to serve as a buddy, and the ability to pay the necessary veterinary and farrier bills for the next 25 – 35 years. If you do decide to add some miniature hoof prints to your farm, I hope that you will adopt rather than buy. There are already far more miniature horses in our area than there are suitable homes for them, and both Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network and the Guilford County Animal Shelter often have adoptable minis. Red Dog Farm actually has nine minis available for adoption as I write this. You can also search for miniature horses in other rescue organizations using Petfinder.com. If you are prepared and do your homework, adding a mini to your family farm can be one of the best decisions you make – and definitely one of the cutest!
5836 Bur-Mil Club Road Greensboro, NC 27410 www.RedDogFarm.com Photos courtesy of Laurie Merritt Photography www.triadhappytails.com August 2015