Can You Keep A Miniature Horse In Your Backyard? (Opinions From Mini Owners)

mini horse in backyard

Minis are amazing animals and completely adorable so worth having to enjoy their company. Since they are miniature versions of their bigger counterparts they obviously don’t need as much room for a stall, run-in or pasture.

So can you keep your mini horse in the backyard?

Yes in most areas you can keep a mini in your backyard as long as you have around a 1/3 to 1/4 acre area for them to run around in. You will need to check your local ordinances and zoning, but overall most places base pets on size so your mini may fall into that size. You can also actually housebreak your mini as well. 

Make sure before getting your mini you have enough room for them and also it won’t be against your local laws. You will find most areas have gone through this situation of having mini’s in towns, villages or cities. So they will have language in their zoning specifically for this.

We love our mini’s and love giving them as much room as possible. But they really don’t need much around 1/4 acre is great plus you can take them for walks and such to get them even more exercise. Their stalls only need to be around 6X8′ but you can make them bigger. Make sure they can get out of elements if need and have plenty of water to go with their forage. You can also house train your mini as they normally can hold it for around 6-8 hours before they have to go out.

But don’t take our word for it we have gone out and curated information from several different horse sits and sub reddits to get other mini owners opinions on having a mini in your backyard and how much room you will actually need.

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Mini’s In The Backyard

How Much Room Do You Really Need? 

 1. Ryan Johnson “1/4 acre is enough” – My minis have access to 1/4 acre paddocks but in them they contain small day yards. The reason for this is that I cant leave my minis on grass 24/7

here, too high in sugar here throughout spring. Creates too many risks with Laminitis and founder.

I would suggest something like this , it can come in very handy if an injury occurs and you need a small holding yard to restrict movement, it could also be used as a “Jenny Craig” paddock to

restrict access to grass when at its highest levels of sugar.

I have three minis and they all share the same paddock at any one time.

2. AngC “We section off our property” – Our stallion is vision-impaired (well, actually, he’s blind as a bat.) We happened to buy a property that has a barn and wooden fences. So Nicky gets

an area of around an eighth to a quarter acre that is fenced in wooden post/rail fence (he can’t see electric wire with or without flags.) But he stops eating grass; or if I feed him hay, he’ll save some

for later. Our two mares don’t. So within the girls’ acreage, we’ve put up electrical fencing. I first saw the idea on an Australian website where they had long narrow runs. We’ve modeled our

“interior” fencing on this idea. The width is perhaps sixteen feet wide or so. As they eat it down, we open up another eight foot section. I still don’t have this arrangement down for them, but what

I like about it is that as they eat it down (or as is the case now with our drought) they have a place to run. Our little goobers like to run; I think it’s a pretty good form of exercise.

3. Rocklone Miniature Horses “1.5 Acres I have” – I have a 1.5 acre field, and three paddocks that are about 1/6 acre. The paddocks are quite bare most of the time, but it allows me to move

my fatties from one to the other cause they grow quick. In winter i use the field. This year i will have two mares (one pregnant) and a stallion and gelding, so not sure what my turnout is hahahh

4. Carly Rae “I section it off as needed” – My 4 minis have 13 acres, but I have sectioned it off so they are closer to me as they don’t need a whole 13 acres, Here in Australia (Probably in

other countries too) you need 1 acre per horse. But miniatures are much smaller haha, my minis are now on about half an acre but once the they get low of feed I’ll move them to more food.

I sometimes lock them up off grass some nights to prevent bloating and to let them settle off feed for the night. Our old farrier said that a horse out on grass for 2 hours a day is plenty but I

personally don’t think that they should be locked up for 22 hours of the day and 2 hours to eat I find it a little unfair. But yeah, that’s just me. I take them for walks some afternoons for exercise

and just to get out of the paddocks for a while haha

5. PaintPonyLvr “Check into county, state, town requirements” –

Also check into your county/state/town requirements.

Some areas REQUIRE a certain size to house equine (like minimum of 1 acre/horse or as little as 1/4 per horse). Some places differentiate between mini/pony/full size horse – some don’t. Some,

even after you meet the required size, have a limit to # of horses per paddock/acre as well or total # on a piece of property – regardless of acreage.


All that said, our paddocks and pastures are different sizes and have different #’s of horses/ponies in them. We have a perimeter fence on about 7-8 acres that all the other

pens/paddocks/pastures are in (for now – have a couple of others planned for – but don’t plan on clearing more property for ponies). All other paddocks/pastures are set 30′ off of the perimeter

fence (or will be when all completed). That allows us to keep areas open for riding or driving around w/ vehicles (both pony drawn and mechanized).

Satelite view – before we purchased it. Wish I could use “Paint” to mark out our pastures/paddocks & pens… The full perimeter fenced pasture is to the left of the photo and is about 7-8 acres

total. Trees used to advantage in most areas!! The two red roofed buildings are our house w/ attached 2 vehicle carport and the shop. The bright blue is a 28′ above ground swimming pool (1/2 the

size of the round pen put in in front of the ‘barn’ now). The open area below and to the right behind the red roofed house is fenced in chain link and we plan on putting goats (2-3) there

eventually. Right now, may put a couple of ponies in it to graze. The hook shaped driveway is cement and is our neighbors property – his perimeter fence is the zipper looking fence (chain link) w/

a full 8′ tall privacy fence around their house area (they are nudists -he’s already tried to purchase part of ours – just so that he can make sure no one can “peek in”…). The “Y” shaped area below

his is our drive way w/ a flag pole in it. We plan to fence part of it to use as a temporary paddock – probably for mare/foal or for a stallion or …whatever needed…. The tree’d area above, behind

and below the red roofed house aren’t going to be cleared for pasture, but are going to eventually have driving paths thru them to work ponies on. We have a total of 21+ acres – not all of the

bottom shows in this photo… The partial house on the bottom has 3 acres and was originally part of our property (making it 25 acres). We may be able to purchase that later – don’t know yet… The

road between the trees and the “hook neighbors” is on our property and goes around the edge as a driveway for the guy owning the 3+ acres w/ the house at the bottom. The “funny” cleared

square below our “y’d” driveway, is in the horse perimeter fenced pasture and was the start to a pond. We plan on making it a little larger (not much) and completing it as a small water feature to

drive/ride ponies thru – eventually. The line of trees to the far left is inside our property line BUT outside the perimeter pasture fence. The Sr mares pasture has the two trees at the very top left in

it (just) and the circular mound is dirt between the Sr mares and the boys pastures. Really need to figure out a way to draw on this picture!! The Jr mares paddock will be between the barn and the

tree line at the bottom of the cleared area. Once fenced, it can be separated into at least 2 areas – currently the 8 Jr mares run loose on the whole perimeter area. It looks HUGE, but when all

“broken up” – it’s not really. Part of me wishes I’d done the “drive lanes” between pastures a little smaller, but…

We have a round pen in front of the 2 stall shed row barn now that is 60′ in diameter – still grassed as it’s not completely done and isn’t closed off from current ponies or used yet, LOL.

Our “Boys set up” = two smallest pens are 20′ wide by 48′ long. There is an open area between that that is a 16′ wide but same length – could be closed in but hasn’t yet. 1 pen houses a stallion that

then gets turned out w/ the “boys” pasture – the only pony area right now that has no shelter/shade at all. The 2nd houses what are now 2 geldings a small mini and a small, mini sized shetland.

I’m not sure how big the boys pasture is at this point – it’s a very odd shaped “octagon”. We have one medium sized pony gelding (13+ hh), 4 small Shetland geldings & a larger shetland jr stallion

already out in that pasture – then the boarder gelding gets turned out, sometimes, (the mini doesn’t – even tho gelded he doesn’t get along w/ the two stallions AND the larger pony gelding) as

well. The “grass” that was in that paddock when we moved in is now almost a complete dry/sand lot… Will take a lot of work to bring it up to pasture grass and will have to be done with the ponies

on it (makes it harder, we know).

All the fencing is up here – the stallion in the first paddock is 39/40″ at the withers. The little red guy (30″?) was still a stallion as well here – in his separated paddock. The only boy not shown in

this pic, is the 13 hh 1/2 shetland – still in temporary qtrs w/ the mares. The boys were put out in the pasture the day before this pic and I snapped this while hauling in a load of hay on January

1st, 2015. The wood poles/posts are at the entrance to our driveway. You can see the grass coverage at this point…

Final Thoughts

Minis make great pets when they have enough room to play and move around. Remember they will be a lot of work just like regular sized horses. You will need to pick up their manure, keep water out, and feed constantly.

If you will be using hay they will need 1lb of hay 1-3 times a day. They will also need around 3-5 gallons of water depending on the temperature outside. Then it is a good idea to give some grain or oats once a day to fill any gaps in their nutrition plus you mini will love it.

You can have your mini indoors of course and get the potty trained just like a dog. Make sure you have it setup so they can go in and out easily. You can even setup a big dog door for them actually I have seen that before.

Other then that make sure to give them plenty of attention and they will need to have their hooves at least trimmed usually around 6-8 weeks. You can learn to do this on your own however I would actually follow a horse farrier or have them train you how to do it first.



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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