Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saddle training the tiny ones.

I am of the opinion that one of the single most important things you can do to make sure your horse has a long, happy, healthy life where it is kept in a good home and well cared for is to make sure it is TRAINED. Even the ugliest, most poorly put together horse is more likely to find a soft place to land if it is well trained.

This doesn't change if you make the horse smaller. Miniature horse people tend to forget that. If it is small, cute, and doesn;t eat much why bother training it to DO something? It's adorable-ness will make sure it finds a home should you ever not be able to keep it yourself, right?



There is a massive glut of mediocre miniature horses on the market right now. If your mini isn't show ring quality, at least around HERE, there IS no market for it unless it can DO something other than mow the grass.

Since my goal is to sell Sparrow in the spring getting him trained now that he is old enough is of critical importance to me. And since I am training him I might as well get Mary on her way to employability as well. They have been worked in harness for the last year or so, but since they are both large enough and sturdy enough for small children to ride it was time to start getting them used to work under saddle, so to speak. Since both already know the basics of stop/go/turn thanks to their harness training this means mostly just getting them used to having someone on their back.

Well, yeah. problem. They are tiny little things. Solution? Keep a foot on the ground. Yeah. So for your viewing pleasure, pictures of my day after Christmas training session with Mary. PLEASE NOTE: I am actually walking over top of her, and bearing a good deal of my weight on my own feet. I'm very careful not to ask her to do anything that will hurt her or be too much for her. If at any point she seems to be struggling I will completely back off!

Tacked up and ready to go!


Back in the saddle, so to speak (I am riding her in the halter for now until I get my "sea legs" so to speak and make sure she is settled into this well so I don't accidentally hit her in the mouth):


I'm amazed by how well she is doing, it's like she has been doing it her whole life:


Sparrow seems to LOVE it. I don't have any pictures riding him... or rather walking over him, lol. He is taller but more narrow, and while it is harder to walk over him it is still possible. He has taken to being ridden MUCH better than he did to driving. This guy is going to be a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC little kid's pony!!! I mean, he is gorgeous, healthy, active, smart, sweet as sugar, and already looking to be really solid under saddle. I am seriously going to be looking for a family for him that will appreciate that and actually use him.


  1. tooo cute!!! I never realized you could ride a mini -- not even a kid -- ride a mini. Just thought they were "cute to look at", and trick ponies.

    Oh... LOVE the snow suit! *grins*

  2. I've been training mine to drive, mostly. I LOVE carriage driving and you can drive a mini as well as a big horse but the equipment is smaller and they eat less. With the cost of hay these days the eat less part is appealing.

    Some of the very small ones are mostly just "cute to look at" because they don't have the physical strength to do other things, but the size I like can do a lot of things other than just be cute.

    I don't recommend adults ride mini horses, they just aren't built for carrying that kind of weight, but they need to be trained somehow and I don't know any horse training 4 year olds. :-D

    Once they are trained they will be able to carry kids up to 30 or 40 pounds but I wouldn't go any bigger than that on them. That is why I do my best to keep my feet on the ground and to keep training sessions very short.