Mini horses are just like regular sized horses in most ways, but not when it comes to their hooves. As you should talk to your vet and local farrier before making any changes that you read below. Small changed with a mini can affect them big time.
So do you shoe mini horses?
Mini’s can wear shoes although they normally don’t. If you are going to be riding on rough terrain constantly may be something to look into along with rubber trail shoes they have more mini’s. Regardless you will need to have them trimmed typically every 6-8 weeks.
This can be somewhat of a heated debate with either putting shoes on vs no shoes. We personally don’t shoe our minis or use rubber trail boots. But we do live on a dirt road with nice pastures and trails. I am sure if we were showing our minis or they were traveling on paved roads we would explore the option of them being shod since we have shoes on our other regular sized horses.
What a lot of people don’t realize probably 10 out of 10 farriers will tell you that mini horses are much harder to shoe then regular sized horses. So they will at least charge the same amount if not more to have them shod.
We do know people that shoe their miniature horses and have no problems with them at all and have done it for many years. Another issue you may run into is they farrier may have to actually custom make the shoes so it may cost a lot more then a regular horse.
Here is a mini getting shod:
Here is a mini getting boots on:
Mini’s: Horseshoes VS Removable Boots
As we stated mini’s don’t need horseshoes in all cases, but don’t take our word for it we went out and gathered all the information we could from other miniature horse owners so you don’t have to you can see their answers below.
Here’s what these owners had to say about their mini’s wearing shoes:
Real Owners Answers
1. Dalvers63 “Good Luck Finding Ferrier For Shoes” – Mikey wears Equine Jogging shoes and does great in them. I only put front boots on as that is all he seems to need. You can see them in his picture. Well worth the cost vs shoes (if you can even find a farrier willing to shoe a mini)
2. Cayuse “Ferrier Does It Differently” – Mnfcbeagle, I don’t think I know of anyone who has shod there mini. My farrier has used stuff that looks like caulking on some minis. We used it on my welsh pony last year. I forget what its called, but the foot is prepped carefully, a bead of this stuff is run around the edge of the hoof and after it sets it’s rasped and prettied up. I think he called it “pour on shoes” but the name of the product itself escapes me.
3. Marsha Cassada “Don’t Believe In Shoeing Minis” – I do not believe miniatures need shoes. Mine go on all surfaces: paved, gravel, grass, dirt. The only time I had a problem was slipping on pavement before I learned about having the hooves properly balanced. Have had no trouble on pavement now for many years. Going indoors on slippery surfaces is a different thing…
4. OakLeafMiniatures “Rubber Boots” – We only use rubber easy boots on the pavement. Our horses do fine with out them but I prefer to use them because when we are doing a lot of trotting and cantering on the road their hooves can wear down fast. It also gives them better grip on the road so they have more confidence taking off and stopping quickly. We used to do just front boots but now we have them all around for even wear.
5. BSharpRanch “Just Trimming” – I drive mine on all kinds of surfaces, barefoot. I don’t use boots for driving and I don’t shoe for driving. If they have good hoof that has a balanced trim, they should be fine.
Yes, Super Fast is great to help horses with weak walls, to make extensions to help correct a problem or to attach shoes. They also have EquiPac which adds cushion and protection for tender soles.
6. MarjorClementine “Never Shod Mine” – I have never had mine shod and I drive her on all kinds of surfaces. I do plan on getting some easyboots for her this year because we had a lot of our hilly streets repaved and they are slippery! But if I’m driving on trails or anything like that I go barefoot.
7. PaintPonyLVR “I Use Custom Shoes” – I would think adding boots would put more bulk in the drag area and cause you to lose your investment in your boots. I could be wrong…
Why not ask your farrier about slightly squaring off the rear toes. I have had this done on both toe draggers and ponies with stifle issues and it’s helped with both.
OP – I, too, drive ponies of various sizes and work styles on all surfaces – barefoot. I’ve not found that we’ve driven enough to cause a lot of wear, in fact my working ponies have to be trimmed more often as they grow more with the extra concussion. They get wonderful, thick soles… We always have more issues with the “pasture pets” that aren’t being worked then the ones that are being worked on all kinds of surfaces. I do not know how we’d handle steep paved/concrete/asphalt roads, though, since we don’t have any. If we get snow, it usually becomes ice and we don’t work or drive ponies on that, LOL.
8. Jventresca “Glue On Shoes” – I tried using the Vet Tech glue on one of my horses. The farrier put a bead of glue around the edge of his hooves, dusting it with sand for grip. He spread the glue up around the edge of the horse’s hooves to keep it on. He added a silicone pad to the horse’s soles. It worked well and lasted until the next trim. The boots available for minis at that time were not good at all, only about 15 years ago!
9. MelodyPond “Use Shoes If Needed” – My gelding does well barefoot but my mare can be tender on gravel stones etc and I use front boots on her, they are made by Equine fusion and work great. I got the boots because it’s a pain to shoe her. I’ve shod minis before but it’s difficult. Used Eponas, drilled nail holes into the mini sized shoe and used the smallest race nails I could find, packed with impression material. It worked great but it’s just difficult to get a good hold and angle because of their size.
There are different opinions as you can see, but the main consensus is to go with what your mini needs. Now you may have a tough time finding that in your area if you need to find a farrier that will actually shoe your horse and then if you need custom shoes may be a whole different situation.
Glue on shoes may also be an option along with rubber removable boots. Regardless they will need to be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.
Ask your farrier and veterinarian on their opinion as they may work with other minis in the area. Having them barefoot for awhile isn’t a bad idea you just might have to work them doing fake taps as if it is a hammer and fake trimming them to get them used to getting their feet worked on.