It's important to understand the nutritional needs of the miniature horse, as they are prone to overeating and can develop problems from excessive food intake. The nutritional needs of a miniature horse are similar to that of a large horse, but the difference in body size must always be considered. Miniature horses will normally require a daily ration of grain and hay. Weanlings require one cups of grain per day, half cup in the morning and half cup in the evening. As the horse matures they only require one cup of grain per day. Also, all horses need pasture grass. If pasture is not accessible, then additional hay is needed per day. This is the minimum when feeding a miniature horse because of the size of their intestinal tract and the need for continual movement of food in their system. Plenty of clean water should always be available to them. The water tank should be cleaned out every week with clorox to kill bacteria. Pasture access must be limited when the grass is long and lush, or founder (a painful and crippling condition) may result. As with all horses, feeding should be tailored to the individual horse.
Housing Your Horse
Miniatures, though small, are very hardy. They thrive on pasture, sunshine and room to run and play. A three-sided, run-in shed for protection from the cold winds and wet weather is adequate shelter. During the snow season, show horses are usually kept in individual stalls in a barn, but keep in mind they still need to have turn-out time to run and play. The miniature horses stand low to the ground and are more affected by airflow than larger horses. An open, airy barn is essential in maintaining good health. Stalls should be built so horses can look over the partition and receive the benefits of airflow.
Hoof care in miniatures is essential. You need to have young horses' feet trimmed at an early age to help avoid any conformational problems. Hooves should be picked out every day and trimmed for balance on a regular schedule. Neglected or improperly trimmed feet can cause serious problems. Hooves need to be trimmed about every two to three months.
Whether your miniature horse is a show horse, breeding stock, or a pet, regular grooming is essential to his total care. Not only does the horse benefit from your grooming, he also becomes accustomed to your touch and learns to trust his handler. This creates a special bond between you and the horse. When grooming, always brush and comb with the hair, never against it. This will keep the coat soft and shiny and the mane and tail free of tangles. During the warmer months, the horse will appreciate a covering of fly spray. While bathing is occasionally necessary and an important part of the process, horses of any size should not be bathed too frequently as bathing removes much of the natural oil from the horse coat.
You and your veterinarian will want to establish a good health program for your miniature horses, which should include a regular immunization schedule. The type of immunizations required for your miniature horse will vary depending on your intended use. You will also need to develop a deworming program for your horse. All horses are prone to internal parasites, and these parasites can severely affect their general health and performance if left unchecked. Your veterinarian will suggest a deworming schedule based on your horse's living environment and location. In general, it is a good idea to have a veterinarian who is familiar with your miniature horse and his health so the best possible care can be provided in as emergency. Worming should be done every one or two months, and you need to rotate your wormer.