You may have had horses or looking to get horses for the first time and maybe just want to get one horse. You have a nice pasture at home with a small barn and can see yourself getting it setup and focusing on that one horse. Or whatever your situation may be we will help you out.
So can mini horses live by themselves?
Although mini horses are herd animals and most of the time will enjoy a companion they can survive and thrive alone with taking additional steps. You should do the following if your horse has to be alone for your situation:
- Spend a lot of time with your horse
- Groom them daily
- Ride Them they love it
- Lunge them or perform other exercises with them
- Play music
If you do these things among others we also list below your mini should live a long happy life. If you can get them a companion it will make it easier on you and them in the long run even if it is something like a goat. We will tell you our experience with horses including mini’s being raise alone.
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Do Miniature Horses Need A Companion?
In our personal opinion a horse should have a companion since they are naturally herd animals. However, this doesn’t mean they will die without having someone with them in the pasture or to grow up with. If you are retired for example then you will have plenty of time to spend with your mini and give them the attention they will love. If you work all the time and nobody will be there to groom them and give them attention then you might want to look at either getting another mini horse or mini donkey. Even getting a goat won’t take much more work and can be a great companion animal.
- Playing Music – music will help break the silence and help sooth animals including horses. A lot of people do the same when leaving their dogs for example or leaving the tv on. Radios are low voltage so you won’t be wasting much when it comes to electricity. I would leave it on 24/7 but just maybe during the day or afternoon you can even setup a timer for it to maybe turn on during late afternoons when you are still at work.
- Get Your Time In – spend time with your horse as much as possible both of you will enjoy it. If you keep them in a stall overnight or during the day during hot temperatures. Clean the stall with them around they love to be nosy and hang out. Spend time grooming them everyday and giving them some treats. They will love the attentions.
- Ride Them – if you are training them for a kid or maybe to pull a cart work with them and get them going in that direction as soon as they are of age. Even in winter months you can have them pull a sled. I have even seen mini’s pull people on boogy boards in irrigation ditch. Don’t believe me look it up on youtube it is amazing.
- Lunge or Exercise them – go for a walk with them or lunge them to get them to workout. This is one of the areas they will be heavily lacking because when herded up they run around together and play so you will need to make up that difference.
Can Mini Horses Live With Big Horses?
Maybe you are getting a mini for your child, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your own regular horse to ride right? That is correct you can have mini’s and regular sized horses together and they should be fine. I am not saying all minis and other horses get along since they all have different personalities. But they will get along with each other just as much as other horses do. We have a mini that runs the show with the rest of horses and it is hilarious to watch them.
Be careful when introducing them together do it during the day and have help with you there just in case a situation arises. Maybe try to not have shoes on the horse so if there is some kicking it will be less likely of serious injury.
What Animals Do Horses Get Along With?
This is a list that we have compiled and have personal experience with that horses should get a long with.
- Dogs – they can be great companions for minis especially if they grow up with each other. We have a mini that is 2 at they time of this writing and a silver lab that is 8 months old that love playing with each other all the time. Unfortunately we haven’t gotten the mini cut yet since one of his testicles hasn’t dropped yet (just finally dropped today) so we haven’t gotten him cut yet. So he has had to go from having a great time with the big boys to being locked up and pastured by himself until he gets cut due mainly to the mares we have going into heat. So we let him run around in the barn when cleaning stalls and him and dog play all the time. Dogs can also travel well with horses and will help protect your mini as well.
- Cats – they can get along great with minis as they love being in the barn. Our barn cat is a female and gets long with all the horses. They hang out in the stalls together and she also keeps them company in the pasture when it nice out in the spring and summer months. They don’t travel well of course but do well living the barn life.
- Goats or Sheep – these guys can make great companions and will help clean the pasture of those pesky weeds. They will also at times get very protective of your mini horse. My aunt has a mare and goat and if you didn’t know the goat you couldn’t get close to the mare. So watch out for that.
- Horses – full size horses will be just fine to get along with a mini horse.
- Other Mini’s – there are mini donkeys and horses you can get that will help keep your current mini company. They don’t take up much space and having one more won’t cost that much or take up that much more time either. You can for most even keep in the same stall.
So can one horse be kept alone?
Okay so although we love horses and mini’s I don’t want you to only take our advice. So we have gathered other mini horse owners advice and answers to this question to help you make a better decision.
We gathered this information from multiple horse forums and horse sub reddits. Some of the grammar and spelling has been corrected where needed but outside of that the answers remain the same. Although we may not agree with all the answers we wanted to present the most neutral position as possible since there are so many variables that go into this decision.
Real Mini Owners
1. Rabbitsfizz “Strong No” – You will get conflicting advice but my feelings are, most strongly, NO.
Horses are herd animals and when kept on their own are never happy IMO.
They may get used to it, it does not mean they are happy.
You can NEVER give a horse enough attention to make up for lack of companionship- they need company full time. A big horse on the other side of the fence would be more than adequate but one horse on it’s own is a lonely creature
2. MiniMule “Depends On The Horse” – While I totally agree with Rabbit….my big QH would prefer I didn’t have any other horses. He is very attached to me and doesn’t like it when I give attention to the minis at all! The minis on the other hand all have one horse they like and hang out together. Some have more than one but each has a “buddy”. I personally think it is healthier for them to have at least one friend.
3. MercysMom “Horses Are Very Different” – I would agree with Jane for the most part except one mare changed my mind to be open minded – my first horse HATED other horses. She was an exception rather than a rule.
She liked the attention she got from me – if she was with another horse it was war unless she got to be boss and then nobody wanted to mess with her. After I sold her (not by choice but by necessity as I had one baby and another one on the way and wanted to purchase a house), she broke another horse’s leg in a war over a hay pile (other horse survived) and while she was leased, she liked scalping other horses of their coats…. 😮
Depends on the horse and the attention you give it but do not fall into the trap of being an equal to him/her and not an “alpha”… if your horse is a youngster, that is your job to be alpha at all times as he/she will question that fact constantly.
Horses are best kept with other horses so they can express themselves as horses the way nature intended (tough to compete with a horse when he wants to groom you aggressively or wants to play on his hind legs with you – hence the establishment of an alpha role for all humans but horses can be adaptable – it is in their nature to be that kind to us).
Just my two cents worth…
4. Lisa “Not Ideal But…” – On one hand, it is not ideal and if you can allow the horse not to be alone, that is for the best. On the other hand, my horse was alone for 6 months. He was not as happy as he could be, but he had plenty of attention and I believe he was fine. I did not have the money to buy another horse or board him at a place with other horses at the time. When I put him with other horses, he was MUCH happier!
5. Susanne “We are his herd” – When we first adopted Mingus, he was an only horse…we were his herd, and we b onded very tightly. He was a happy, well-adjusted horse.
But when we adopted Thelonius, I saw how he became even happier.
These days, he still is extremely people-oriented, choosing to hang out with us instead of his buddies, but he has constant companionship, buddies with whom he can rough house and bite and boss around.
He was happy with just us, but he is happier now.
6. Margaret “Ok initially” – Although it may be ok initially, til another can be added, I have seen very depressed minis that were kept alone all their life.[IMG]They just go to a corner and put their head down.) On the flip side,- when kept together they exchange horse communication which includes exchanging scratches, ( Oh that feels soo good to them, and gives a sence of being accepted.)and playing together. As another has said -they are herd animals and do better together mentally and physically as a general rule of thumb.
7. ShminiFancier “Many Positives To Being Alone As Well” – For many years I had just one horse at a time. Nothing wrong with that they were just as happy as a whole field of horses to run with.
No competing for food, NO Competing for Shelter, No Competing for my compassionate care.
Right now I have just one Donkey he is very content all by himself. And as soon as I sell him or find him a good home, I may get another mini just to have as a pal. And that one also will be just one and by itself. I see nothing wrong with the single horse people.
Some of my best friends just are not only into judging shows but also showing But ALSO has just one horse at a time.
Even when I had Arabians I had One at a time, and she was all by herself and did just fine And when it came time to show, she was good also in the ring.
So as far as having horses now for over 40 years and having for the most part of that time One Horses at a time they did and do well all by themselves.
8. Jayne “Sleep Big Concern” – There is one thing that comes to mind for me in a question like this: how well will he get to sleep? If you observe a bunch of horses napping, generally there is one that stays standing as kind of a sentry. The ones laying flat out are OUT!! My clyde actually snores! Then I think about a horse that is alone in a field. How can he get some good sleep when there is no one to watch out for him?
I remember when Susanne told me about introducing Thelonius and Mingus. Mingus was already a happy, well adjusted horse, but the EXCITEMENT she told me he showed when they took Thelonius out of the van and brought him up to meet Mingus was so gratifying! Like the best present ever!
I don’t think it costs that much more to have two minis than one. Why not get a pet quality one to keep the other one company? I have three minis, and actually only paid for one of them. (Of course they are only pet quality, but that’s what I wanted. Actually, one IS show quality, but he was seriously injured by a big horse kick and now he’s retired.) If you look around you can find them.
Even though you say you will spend a lot of time with them and that’s GREAT…what about the long winter nights when it’s dark and how nice it would be to have a friend nearby? It would be nicer for you to know that they’re there to keep each other company.
9. Joyce “Get A Goat” –
Most usually horses want the company of other horses or at least another horse. Sometimes a goat (dehorned) will do the trick or sheep etc. Then again you will find some horses that will do extremely well on their own by themselves and especially if they have lots of human contact. NOt much help, am I??
10. Leeana “Depends On The Horse” – I think that this is one of those things where ‘it depends on the horse’, like almost every horse situation.
I know when i got Coco (my first horse, other then horses that were boarded that i rode barrels on ..technically he was my first horse) he was the only horse in my barn for about a month. In that month i think he seemed bord. I was with him pretty much from 6am untill 6pm almost, but at night i think he got bord in there by himself. Then when i got my second mini, he got a little more energy i think and his personality really came out. Now he has 4 other friends in the barn with him and i think he is much more happier now then that month he was alone out in the barn. I watch him and i always see him watching the other horses, he watches them eat, sleep, drink, run, play ext. He came from a home that had about 10 other horses in the pasture with him and that was his whole life so taking a horse that was around his siblings for 2yrs and putting him in a 1 horse barn was a big change.
Then there are horses like my Little Joey. He plays with Coco and gets in on some action but he is not the boss of my 5 horse herd. He tends to go his own way and doesnt really mind the other that much exept when Coco gets him going.
But horses are naturally a herd animal ….therefore i dont know if i would have it in me to have 1 horse by himself for long periods of time. I would atleast look into getting him a buddy, you dont have to buy a 200 horse herd …just a buddy. I think they need another horse to keep there spirt up.
If you cant get a second Mini buddy for him/her …i think that seeing the nabors horse a few times a week would be a nice thing. Make it a ‘nightly rutine’ and they will have something to look forward to.
Again this can be a touchy subject for horse owners to answer as it is for us. We believe horses shouldn’t be alone overall but there are circumstances where being alone is just fine. Let’s say there is an abandoned malnourished mini that you would like to take in is that mini going to be happy being alone of course they are going to be ecstatic.
If it is going to be short term and maybe get another mini or full size horse down the road then do it. Or maybe you are going to try having a loan mini horse and if they do have issues be willing to get a companion animal.
Whatever it is there are man variables, but naturally yes they probably will be better off in most circumstances with another mini and not alone. You could be buying a mini that has always been alone and may not do well with other animals. The list can go on and on. Use your best judgement and go with it. My Aunt has had a mare for 25 years that has spent most of its life alone, but she is retired is gives the horse a lot of attention. She also had a couple goats previously and other horse around her it just didn’t work out.
Every situation is different so go with your gut feeling and take local advice maybe or even talk to your vet before making the commitment. After all this can be a very long commitment up to 30 years for these mini horses.