I have raised several minis and ponies, and I can say they are big horses stuck in little bodies, only with much bigger attitudes. I have raised some from birth and gotten some as adults or young adults. Most of the ones I have gotten as adults are the hardest to deal with. I find that people treat them more like dogs than like horses. This causes most of them to become dangerous around most people and especially children.
One example was a mini stud named Mr. E. I quickly learned what the “E” stood for. I took him in as a rescue from a woman I will call no less than crazy! She was just one of those off her rocker, not normal thinking kind of people. I was asked by a mutual friend to consider taking him in, so I went and talked to her and met the pony. They had been keeping him in a small dog pen, no turnout or human contact other than feeding him. Even when he was being fed they did not go it, he was fed through the wire. They had owned him from a small colt and he was now approximately 4 and extremely dominant and aggressive. It was actually unbelievable how bad he was, and he had been raised around children, ridden, parades and all. But here is the kicker and it all made sense after I talked to her and watched her with him. She let him out of his pen and he immediately went to chasing her, and she ran from him laughing. She would stop; he would bite at her, rear up and try to attack her. All the while she said he was just playing.
He was far from playing. He was trying to kill her! He then attacked me, knocked me on the ground, and proceeded to paw me and bite me. When she grabbed him off of me, I told her to put him in my trailer right now. I had seen enough. I knew that if I did not get him out of there he was going to hurt someone and probably live his life in that pen, all because of some fool's misconception of play. I took him back to GA and started him on a pretty strict routine and got him gelded. But I will tell you that they ruined that pony for life. He was and still is very aggressive and attacks you unprovoked and also other horses. I could not even go into his pasture without a dressage whip to remind him to stay away. It was actually pretty scary at times. I placed him with a man with a herd of turned out ponies as in my opinion that was his only option other than euthanasia.
When you have a mini or a pony, please understand that their manners need to be exactly the same if not more strict than a regular size horse. Yes they are cute and we want to treat them like dogs, but I assure you that it will almost always end badly. Nipping, pawing and anything that is cute when they are born and small is not cute and very dangerous when they get older. If you just take the time when they are young to instill good manners and boundaries, you will be able to enjoy your pony for years to come.
I have a mini mule right now that I got when he was two weeks old due to his dam dying suddenly. I will tell you that he is about 115 pounds at six months old, and it was hard to discipline him at first. But now that he is 6 months old and does not bite, kick or paw and has exceptional manners, I am glad that I took the time and got onto him when bad behavior showed through. Even though to him it was play, it was still not okay to do to me. Every once and awhile he will act like he may kick me, but typically he just hops up his back end, because he knows he will be “kicked” back if he even tries. Mules can be even harder to deal with than regular horses, add mini to that and I swear it’s ten times worse. But they can be great companions and are incredibly smart little guys. Just remember that they are horses and they need to act as such.
Thanks for reading!
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