Can I Have A Miniature Horse In City Limits? (Real Mini Owner Answers)

mini horses in city limits

There are many reasons you may have to have your mini horse in city limits. Among them are you are moving to the city from a farm and also at this time you can have a mini horse as a service animal. I have even heard of people traveling right on planes with them.

So can you have a mini horse in city limits?

Yes it is possible to have a mini horse in city limits. This will vary quite a bit based on zoning laws and where you live, but overall it will come down to the amount of land you have vs what is needed for a mini horse in your state. Also if you have your mini listed as a service animal you can bi-pass a lot of the zoning laws.

There are a lot of I guess we can call it loop holes you can use to have a mini horse in city limits legally. A big loop hole is just having them classified as a pet instead of agricultural. A lot of cities have adopted different laws and zoning just for these mini animals that we will go over below.

We have also gathered information from actual mini horse owners that give their input on having a mini in city limits. We personally live in the country off a back road, but I do know of people that live in cities not too far from us that have their land zoned to have farm animals. Basically around our area in upstate New York if you have an acre you can have at least one of each farm animal if you just have it re-zoned for that purpose.

Bringing Your Mini Horse To The City

Below are responses from real mini horse owners that have either been in this situation or know about it. We curated this information from a number of different sites and forums.

We corrected grammar and spelling where needed, but other then that the answers remain the same.

Real Mini Owners:

1. Marty “Mini’s Are Usually Considered Livestock” – We have dealt with this on our board many times. In my book, “Happy Horsekeeping with Dirty Holly” one of the first things I address in there is to check your zoning because too many times, people do not realize that a mini is in fact considered “livestock”

Your mini is a horse and there is no getting around that.

The plain fact is that you are in violation and you screwed up. So the burden of proof is on you to prove to the zoning board that your mini horse is no threat to the community. This will be hard because they will say that since you have violated the laws, that other people will do it too if they bend the rules for you.

There may be a way that you can get your zoning board to accept that the mini is “an exotic” and that could help your cause.

Now start documenting and get out your measuring tape. First take pictures of your fencing and barn. Measuring your fencing from where it ends on your property to where the county takes control of the “outside” part of your area. Then measure how far away your yard is from the neighbors’. Show pictures. VISUAL AIDS! And include many pictures of your mini.

Do make sure your fencing is adequate and your barn is not any kind of eyesore.

Show how you dispose of your manure. People most likely will be addressing that “manure causes buggies and are unhealthy to the neighborhood” so be prepared. Bring your bug sprays and stuff right into the zoning board meeting. If you have a video tape of your mini, bring that too to show how docile nature he is.

Take pictures of your set up. Many many pictures and show the horse’s area very clearly.

Yes do get signed statements from your neighbors that say the horse is quiet and not any kind of nuscience.

Get a statement from your vet that will prove that your horse in no way will carry any airborn disease to the human population.

Above all, show that there is much security there and that your horse cannot escape causing any bodily harm to any individual.

Good luck.

2. Boinky “Look Into Specific Height Requirements” – I think i’d ad in there their SPECIFIC heigh ranges not just “25” and up”. the words “and up” could mean they could go up to 18.HH or so!! be very specific and say Anything under 38″ at the withers… or under “34” at the withers” OR “25”-38″.. to give them an idea. Under is a better term than “and up”. I think i’d also take the time to figure out what you plan to do with waste disposal ect to ad to that letter. Many times livestock are not welcome in towns because of their manure ect. One town around here you must collect your manure in a garbage can and either take it to the dump and put it in the compost pile or figure out another way to dispose of it, but it must not remain in a giant manure pile on the property. Think of all the ways that you can appease the town before sending in the letter! Sometimes just knowing how to care for a horse is not enough! It will take work on your part to figure out what the towns concerns are with having live stock and how you may possibly be able to convince them to bypass it for yourself. Don’t be surprised if they wont bend either!

3. Black Pearl “Exotic Pets” – You might even try to get them to see about looking up “exotic pet” We have a client that has less then 1 acre, and they are allowed to keep two miniatures on the property under 34″ and have had them there for over 5 years now. Good luck!

4. Tony “Adopt New Rules” – You might talk to your city council or homeowners association about the rules and some proposed changes if you get their ear. The following are the rules adopted by Austin, Texas, and might be helpful to you:


(A) All horses, mules, jacks, jennets, cattle, hogs, sheep or goats or similar animals, shall be kept in a stable, shed, pen or other enclosure meeting the requirements of § 3-1-1. For all such animals, other than miniature breeds of livestock, such stable, shed, pen or other enclosure shall be at least 100 feet from every adjoining lot in any residential district, as such district may have been duly designated and defined under this Code of Ordinances. Every such stable, shed, pen or other enclosure, wherever located within the city for the keeping of such animals, other than miniature breeds of livestock, shall be at least 50 feet from every building or structure used for sleeping, dining and living.

(B) Miniature livestock are horses, mules, jacks, jennets, cattle, hogs, pigs, sheep, goats or similar animals meeting the published breed definition for registration by a recognized association for breeding such miniature animals, and weighing less than 200 pounds and standing no taller than 36 inches at the shoulder or withers. When one or two female or neutered male miniature livestock are kept, the stable, shed, pen, or other enclosure in which they are kept shall be located at least 20 feet from every building or structure used for sleeping, dining or living, other than structures owned or occupied by the keeper of the livestock. When more than two but less than six female or neutered male miniature livestock are kept, the stable, shed, pen or other enclosure in which they are kept shall be located at least 50 feet from every building or structure used for sleeping, dining or living. When six or more female or neutered male miniature livestock are kept, the stable, shed, pen or other enclosure in which they are kept shall be located at least 100 feet from every building or structure used for sleeping, dining or living. When any number of unneutered male miniature livestock are kept, the stable, shed, pen or other enclosure in which they are kept shall be located at least 100 feet from every building or structure used for sleeping, dining or living.

(’81 Code, § 3-2-9) (Ord. 910321-E)

5. MiniHoofBeats “What is your mini going to do” – I myself just went through this not too long ago, but I moved to a new home where I could keep my mini’s…however…I was dead set on working with my city to allow me to keep a mini at my house!

One thing to say – cities care more about hearing of a mini that is being brought in to visit the elderly, hold presentations in parks or schools for children to learn about them, and I even had an offer to help social workers (if parents get taken away, all they offer the kids are teddy bears for comfort…they suggested bringing in a mini instead to interact with the child for a few hours until things are handled). etc. A city cares more of what you and your mini can do for the city, instead of what other kind of “pet” can be allowed.

My idea of bringing in a tiny mini undero 26″ as a pet fell through, they said if I were given special permission to keep one, soon they’d be overloaded with other people in town wanting one and if everyone got one during the “fad” then what happens to all the backyard mini’s when the fad dies down?

A special permit may be able to be made if you play by their rules…offer to take the mini to elderly homes, schools, etc. offer to be available for business parties in the parks or wherever (sometimes you may get paid!) but, know that it’s a LARGE battle and become good friends with your area’s Alderman. They are who will help bring you to the top! Make your proposal to him/her and pray to god they like animals!

Chin up, and good luck!!!

6. Sheri Hill “Change The Ordinance If Needed” – I changed the ordinance in my lil town to categorize as them as pets. We had almost 3 acres in town. Was the outskirts of town, but as the boundaries and town grew… (now moved with over 8 acres out of town) If you e-mail me I can send you all the info. and articles that I took in with me to show the city council, also I got a petition and had the neighbors and everyone sign it. Turned out I had media coverage from the newspapers, and also had a gal I didn’t even know show up at one of the meetings to say she would MUCH rather have mini horses for neighbors than barking dogs! My neighbors that abutted the pastures also came to the meetings in my favor. It was also a lil town, famous for the long time rodeo and being a horsie town and community. My county of Clackamas has more horses per mile than anywhere else in the country. This is horse country. Just get all your info. and sigs and people etc. all lined up when you take it to them to present your case.

Good luck


7. Yaddax3 “City Council Holds All The Cards” – I was on the city council in my community for eight years. Ultimately, the members of your city council will decide your fate. The council can award you a conditional use permit that would waive the three-acre rule in your community.

I suggest contacting members of your city council — or whatever it’s called in your town — and tell them what you’d like to do. While many council members will make time to meet with you in person, some will have time constraints and be unable to do that. So, have photos ready that can be e-mailed to them, showing the smallest mini you can find with a human.

If you have consensus on your city council, and they’re willing to give you a CUP, it doesn’t matter what you are told by anyone in the city offices. And you don’t have to have the mini(s) reclassified as exotics or anything else. (As an aside, if one city or township classifies a mini as an exotic, it will have no impact on other cities and hurt horse people, as one poster suggested. A designation as an exotic may be a way for some city councils to circumvent their own livestock rules; if you can find other places where that has been done, it may help you make your case with council members. But I wouldn’t push for the exotic designation until after trying for a CUP.)

In my city, where acreage also is an issue, three minis equate to one large horse. So, if you have three acres and are allowed to put just one large horse on the parcel, you can have three minis instead. That may be helpful to make your case.

Good luck.

Can You Have A Miniature Horse As A Pet?

Yes, min  horses have many uses and being a pet is one of them. They can be kept as companion animals, the first horse for a child, and even pull carts. They are strong animals that can do more then you think. They also live a lot longer then most pets at some living up to 35 years of age.

Miniature Horse As Pet

They can way around 150-300 lbs depending on what size and breed of mini you get. So they do way a lot more then most dogs or other house animals so make sure you take this into consideration before getting one.

They can however help you keep your lawn trimmed down with ease and also you can use their manure for your garden and it will work amazing. Just make sure you let it compost for awhile since they don’t have multiple stomachs like cows do weed seeds can make it through.

If you have other animals like a dog, cat, or goat minis usually will get along with other animals as well.

Mini Horse Living In House

Yes mini horses can live in a house surprisingly and we see this happening more and more these days. Since they only get up 250 lbs max normally this makes it the weight of a person so they are fine to walk on most floors. They can also be potty trained to go outside every 6 hours or so to relieve themselves.

Even at that they will need to get outside to get their exercising in and grazing in. So make sure you have a fenced in yard if possible for them to run around or an area you can take them too run around. If you have a dog they can also play with each other and wear each other down.

Related Questions

How Much Space Does A Miniature Horse Need?

The space a mini horse needs is substantially less then that of their bigger relatives. Usually a miniature horse will only need around 1/3 of an acre to graze and get their exercise in. That is what makes them perfect for yards and you can have 2 or 3 of them on an acre.

Where To Get Your Miniature Horse?

First search your local classifieds, papers, etc. Then go online and do some local searches even on the facebook market place or craigslist. You can actually find mini’s for free at times. Just make sure you do your research before taking on this little big responsibility.

Final Thoughts

Although there may be some challenges with having your mini in city limits that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Check your local zoning laws and talk to your city council. Neighbors are a great place to start as well as they can be the key to your having your mini at your home. If they agree to it then it should make the path much easier.

If you have a third of an acre or more you have enough room for a miniature horse. Make sure you have a plan and structure setup for them outside with an endless supply of water. Also they need around 2-3 lbs of hay a day or access to your lawn will be fine just make sure you don’t use any chemicals on it going forward.


I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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