Thinking about getting that next pet and wondering if you can potty train a miniature horse so you can keep them inside. Or maybe you are moving from the country to the suburbs (hopefully not the city) and want to know what animals are going with you. There are options outside of finding another good home for your mini horse.
So can your miniature horse live inside?
A Miniature Horse can live inside a residence. They can be house trained very similar to a dog and also bathed like one as well. There are people who even have oversized doggy doors for their mini horses. So it can be done, but are you willing to put the work into house break one is the question.
Yes you can live with your mini inside your house especially if they have immediate access to the outdoors when they need to relieve themselves. Below you will find a check list of what you need to have for your mini if they live indoors.
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Miniature Horse As A Pet
Miniature horses are about the size of a large dog and can be anywhere between 100-200lbs. Where they differ from Ponies is they were bred from larger horses so they have a much more relaxed temperament.
There height is usually around 34-38 inches. Since they are smaller you would think they would be much cheaper then a full size horse and this isn’t always the case.
You will need to have their hooves trimmed just like a regular horse and guess what most farriers can’t stand trimming or shoeing mini horses in the least. We know this from experience. So if you can work with your mini to make it easier on the farrier to get it done with ease.
Or you can learn how to trim your mini’s feet on your own, but this is a huge undertaking and shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. You will need to learn a lot and become a skilled farrier in order to do so.
Keeping minis as pets is one thing when you have them still outside the majority of the time if you are going to keep them indoors that is a completely different ball game which we discuss below.
Miniature Horses As Indoor Pets
Keeping a mini horse as an indoor pet comes with all the responsibilities of a dog plus a bunch of extras. You do have to be much more careful as to what your horse gets into as they have very sensitive stomachs.
You will need to keep them active, take for walks and let go outside when they need to go to bathroom. They will also need regular bathing which can be done outside or in a bathtub.
Checklist For Indoor Mini As Pet:
- Hay (About 2-3 slabs a day minimum)
- Grain (mini horse grain best)
- Healthy Limited Amount Of Treats (Carrots, Salt Block, Apples, Etc)
- Grooming Tools (Comb, Brush, Squeegee, Rubber-bands, Hair Trimmer)
- Hoof Tools (Hoof pick, File, Nipper, etc.)
- Water Trough (lots of water and access to it most all the time)
- Manure Pick and Shovel (Pickup droppings)
- Shavings (if needed for bedding and for urine/feces)
- Fencing (probably at least 3 feet but 4 feet better)
- Halter/Lead Rope
- Vet Available (To Treat Mini When Needed)
This is just a short list the hay will depend on whether you have them on grass as well. Be careful with your grass and make sure you are not treating with anything like pesticides.
Diet – miniature horses need to be on a very strict diet. They need a very lower caloric intake compared to their larger counterparts. They can get obese and have massive health problems if their diet isn’t kept under control. So keep the treats limited and they exercise as great as you can.
Fencing – you can fence in your backyard for a play area pretty easily. We don’t keep our mini horse inside but we have brought him inside and on our porch many times.
We have our yard fenced in and let him go. We actually just used a retractable safety fence for the gate works great. That retractable gate can be found almost anywhere like Amazon or Walmart which is 3 feet tall.
The rest of our fence is 4 foot field fence, but on the road frontage side we just took a tall field fence and cut it in half so it is around 3 1/2 feet tall saved us some money. We have 4 board that reaches 4 feet tall however.
If you can just have a small outdoor pond for them to drink out of or a short water trough. They will play with other animals like dogs as well. Our lab and mini get along great actually better then he does with the big horses which are kind of like that commercial with the mini horse getting picked on.
Exercise – they will need tons of exercise. That can be in the backyard if it is big enough running around. Just let them out and go they will play with balls at times. If you have a bigger dog they may get along and play as well. As long as they have been around each other a lot they should be fine. Taking them for walks is great a one up of that is having them pull you around in a cart. Yes you can train your mini to pull you around. Send them out or you can train them on your own.
Transport – You don’t have to have a horse trailer to transport a mini horse in most states. But check your local laws and ordinances. I have seen people transport them in vans and the back of covered trucks even in small cars. I don’t recommend small cars in the least because if they get spooked their is nothing stopping them from breaking your windows or causing an accident. As long as they are in a secure environment like the back of a van with space to move around a bit or if they kick to miss the window. I actually see a lot of positives with a van vs a horse trailer. We do move ours in a single horse trailer which you can pull with most vehicles.
Shots – Your mini should get at least some shots like a 4-way and at least rabies. So look into a local vet for the rabies at least most all other shots you can do on your own. You shouldn’t really need wormer unless a vet recommends. You usually mainly need wormer when grazing around other horses.
Local Ordinances – Some townships will not allow a mini horse to kept in the city limits. So make sure to check your local ordinances on where you live or going to live. That doesn’t mean their can’t be exceptions, but just make sure you look into it first.
Actual Horse Owners Opinions On Uses Of Mini As Pet
We gathered this information from other horse websites and forums. Curated the info so the only thing that is changed is the grammar and spelling where needed. These aren’t our opinions just the opinions of others who either own mini’s or have in the past.
Real Mini Owner Opinions
1. TargetsMom “Nursing Homes” – I took a 2 year old to a nursing home as his second trip off the farm and he was as great as I knew he would be. I also took our show mare Princess who was good and the best thing about her being there was letting us know when it was time for a potty break! Actually it was our 4-H Club that did this as a community service project and a members grandparent made the connection for us. They had other animals visit (but not a mini) and had an outdoor courtyard that could be used. We used our horse trailer which we were able to park in the shopping center next door. We are not certified with Pet Partners or anyone but we are insured!!! That is very important. We did not use potty bags but do plan to order some for future visits. Princess worked well but she is not the best theray mini. We did not do any SPECIAL training, but all our minis get extensive ground training from the minute they arrive here, including those born here like Rusty. Temperament is the most important. We just knew Rusty would be great as he is pretty unflappable and even when the TRAIN WENT BY just across the road from the nursing home, he never reacted at all. Princess turned her head. From the courtyard we could see one women through a window who apparently could not come out, so one of the staff suggested we take the minis inside! We tried one door but the tile floor was way too slippery (you need something on their feet to prevent slipping) so we went in another door which led to all carpetted halways. Both minis were fine inside til Princess let us know it was time to leave. Luckily I was able to read her signals.
Build a bear shoes have been the standard footwear for therapy minis but the new shoes have foam soles and don’t work. Someone has already contacted the company who had no idea of this other use of their shoes and may work on it.
2. Marsha “Schools and Fairs” – I have taken mine to nursing homes, schools, Headstart, fairs.
Mine does not poop when he is working, so that has never been an issue. I take a plastic grocery bag, just in case. Use as glove/disposable bag.
Do not visit during lunch hours and do not let anyone offer snacks to your horse. Invitation to nipping!
Slippery linoleum floors can be a problem, so walk carefully or put some vet wrap around the hooves. Watch out for glass exit doors! My horse ran into one the first time.
It is my experience that many nursing home residents do not like animals in their space, especially in the lunchroom. Twice we visited and were taken to the lunchroom, and many of the residents did not like an animal in their dining room. Better to meet in the lounge, or outdoors, though we visited some bed ridden residents in their rooms and that worked out well. Some people do not want their photo taken, so be aware and get permission if you plan on photos.
Children are the most fun, I think. And there is opportunity for education, such as all the things that the letter H stands for.
Do not let the children sit on your horse. Even though they are young, you will get an over-sized child and it will hurt his feelings if he cannot sit on the horsie also. Just don’t let anyone set on him, then you’ll lessen the problem. Take brushes and combs. Invite them to smell the horse, look at his teeth, feel the hardness of hooves. Show them where the tail bone is.
Children generally want to know if it is a boy horse or a girl horse. If mine is dropped, I am matter-of-fact that he is a boy horse. I don’t encourage silliness about that.
My avatar horse can be very ornery. But somehow, when he is with the children and particularly the old folks, he is very gentle. I think he enjoys the attention.
I have a horse trailer, so that is how I haul horse. Sometimes we give cart rides, too. At one time I called our insurance company about coverage, and that is something that is up in the air. I guess I just quit worrying about it.
3. AmySue “Hospitals” – I have volunteered my time and animals for many youth, educational and agricultural themed events. I know people who have brought their animals inside hospitals and facilities. For indoor visits, sneakers, easy boots or foot wraps are a must so that the minis do not slip on the tile floors. Most places request diapers or poo bags for sanitation purposes as in many facilities, dept of public health has strict regulations regarding animals. It is usually state law (may vary from state to state) that any animal coming into contact with the public must be current on Rabies vaccinations. I haul with my two horse bumper pull trailer, but I have hauled one mini in the back of my suburban with aid of a large square hay bale to provide a step up/down for the horse. To volunteer your time no certification is needed, but to receive compensation for providing therapeutic services, there are licensing requirements by the state (either dept of health, dept of revenue etc). Certain challenges may arise, ie nervous horses do not always cooperate and some people are nervous around horses and need reassurance. Bed ridden or disabled individuals may require assistance to visit and pet the animals. Safety is the important thing, do not bring known biters or kickers, only quiet and patient ponies should be invited. It is a good idea to introduce your animals to things they may see at the facility you plan to visit. Tile floors, Electronic doors, wheelchairs, elevators, etc. It may be a good idea to visit the facility yourself without your animals to see what it looks like before you bring critters. Liability insurance is a good idea too. Just in case someone accidentally gets bitten or stepped on. I purchased a very reasonable policy for a weekend event once and in addition to what the use of membership offers, it was plenty. Also ensure that they your horses cannot get away from you and hurt others or themselves or impede traffic. There was recently a story on the news about two llamas that escaped during a volunteer visit and caused quite a commotion. Have fun.
4. 7FluffyFriends “Bible Camp and Preschool” – The granddaughters and I have taken the minis to preschool, elementary school, and the local nursing home. We do not have special insurance for these events. I believe the institutions have insurance that covers visitors/entertainment as there have never been any forms for us to fill out or sign.
In the case of the assisted living / nursing home, I simply phoned and asked if a visit was something they would like and the answer was yes. We had a great time and it was such fun to talk and listen to the ‘elders’ and their memories.
The kids are always fun and full of wonderful questions.
In the case of the kids, I drew a simple mini and made copies for a ‘coloring sheet’ that also had a few simple facts about minis on the page. The children seemed to like that and it was very easy and affordable on my part.
Minnie also went to summer Bible camp
So these are some great ideas whether you already have a mini or looking to get one as a therapy use animal. A lot of people don’t think about these kinds of things when having a mini horse as a pet. But they have dog therapy animals and also regular sized horses are used as therapy animals as well.
Having a mini as a pet is a huge undertaking and keeping that mini inside is going to take a lot more work and a lot more patience. Weigh out the costs and time you will need to put in to make sure it is worth it and go from there.
Can You Have A Mini Horse In The City?
You can have a mini horse in the city if your local ordinances allow. There can be exceptions since most ordinances don’t really take mini horses into account. You can have exemptions as well if they are considered a therapy animal or if you have over a certain amount of land like an acre. Mini horses want to run so make sure you have time and space to allow them to do so.
Do Miniature Horses Make Good House Pets?
Miniature horses are not your typical house pet, but they can make great ones when you put the time into them. Just like pigs aren’t really thought of as typical house pets yet they are one of the cleanest animals when kept indoors. They can be house broken and easy to take care of outside of getting their hooves trimmed you can do most everything on your own.
Can Miniature Horses Be Housebroken?
Miniature horses can be housebroken just like a dog or cat. You will need to take them out every so often so they can be rewarded when they go outside. Just like the Amazon commercial you can get them a big doggy door so they can let themselves out and in when needed. You can also designate an area for them to go to the bathroom in like cats, but the smell can be hard to contain even with pine shavings.