UNICORNER FARM

Miniature Horses and Tunis Sheep

What is a Miniature Horse?

A Miniature Horse is a scaled down version of a full size horse. Purebred minis can be registered in various associations like the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) or the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA); many qualify for registry in both.

Miniature HorseThe main difference in the two is while the AMHA registers only Miniature Horses under 34 inches, the AMHR has two divisions; the “under” Miniatures are under 34 inches and “over” division Miniatures can be 34 to 38 inches. Minis are measured at the last hair of the mane.

Miniature HorseThere are two main types of miniatures, the refined Arabian look and the stockier Quarter Horse look. The Standard of Perfection specifies a small, sound, well-balanced horse, possessing correct conformation, so either body type is acceptable.

Silver Miniature HorseMinis are found in all horse colors, including sorrels, bays, roans, appaloosas, pintos, palominos, and silvers to name just a few. Combinations of these colors create beautiful, colorful horses.

Where did they come from?

Blue Roan Miniature HorseThe Miniature Horse breed is the product of nearly 400 years of selective breeding. Many trace back to the early 1700’s, when the small horses were used to pull ore carts in coalmines of England and Northern Europe. The miniatures were brought to the United States in the late 19th century for that same use.

The European royalty were known to keep the smallest minis around as pets.

What are they good for?

Drive a Miniature HorseBesides making wonderful pets, these affectionate animals can be ridden by small children. And from their ancestry they are naturals for pulling carts. There is even racing for miniature trotters.

Older people love the small, easy to handle size and many who have had large horses all their lives find them a wonderful alternative.

Miniature Horse in Hunter ClassMiniature horses can be a wonderful family hobby or business. They are shown in all types of classes including halter, driving, obstacle, color and costume in shows all over the United States and give enjoyment to horse lovers of all ages.

 

What type care do they require?

Size differenceMiniature horses don’t require a lot of acreage, nor do they eat near as much as the larger breeds. One bale of hay will usually last one miniature horse for a week. Of course they do require the same care, with normal veterinarian and farrier attention.

Minis have the same gestation period as their full-sized kin -- 11 months or 345 days.

Where can they be seen?

The easiest place to view our miniatures is here on our website. Owned and operated by Bob and Debbi Brown, the farm is located near Waco in the Heart of Texas. Pets and show stock are usually available. Visitors are welcome! Please email us or call 254-749-2332 first for an appointment.


More Information about Miniature Horses

Conformation of Miniature Horses

Color Genetics with emphasis on Miniature Horses

Miniature Horse Weight Table

Skin Problems in Miniature Horses

 

Shipping Miniature Horses

 

Recommended Books about Miniature Horses

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Breeding, Feeding, Facilities

Q. Also, does anyone have a a favorite mini reference book? I already have a veterinary reference book specifically for minis (not to mention two coat color genetics books including Sponenburg's). Thanks for your replies! Amanda

A. See our "Bookstore" page, our favorites are listed there.

 


Q. Are they a mini, miniture, minature, midget pony, miniature Shetland, miniature pony, mini pony, miniture pony, or minature pony? What is the proper name and spelling of this breed?

A. It should be miniature horse - or more specifically American Miniature Horse. They shouldn't be a dwarf or midget, but a nicely proportioned horse in miniature.


Q. How much does it cost to keep a miniature horse?

A. We are feeding 44 right now on $41 a week for grain, so that's pretty close to $1 a week for grain. If they are in a dry lot and need hay, one would consume about two bales in a month, and around here good coastal is around $3.50 a bale. So you are looking at around $11 for feed and hay.

They need their feet trimmed on the average of 8 week intervals, at an average price of $15, so $7.50 per month there.

Worming every three to 4 months, 1 tube of Zimectrin will worm the average size mini 4 to 5 times, so about $1 a month or less there.

$11 + $7.50 + $1.00 = around $20 per month.


FEEDING FAQ's

Q. Man O man I seem to be learning about Minis by trial by fire. I have another question. Why is my almost 2 month old colt eating his mother’s fresh poop?  What can I do about it? I do keep the paddocks and stall clean, but I can’t walk around behind her with a bucket all day.  He gets electrolytes and vitamins when he eats the safe N sound I feed mama. They have a mineral block, that I re-introduced him to today.  He is eating hay, and grass. And still nursing of course... So what’s the Poop??  LOL what do I need to do to stop this habit. What aren’t I doing that has caused it?Thanks in advance for all you advice. You all are great and don’t know how much you have helped me before!!!.Paula

A. Foals must eat poop because they are not born with the beneficial bacteria in their stomachs.

A. This question has come up several times -- a search on Google "horse eats manure" brought up this answer in several different sites.

"Normal in foals 2-5 weeks old, establishes bacteria in the digestive tract. However, if too much is consumed, causes problems. In mature horses, can be associated with a lack of roughage, protein or minerals. Parasites."

Hope this eases your mind -- in foals it appears that they are doing what nature dictates to get their digestive system working properly. Lorraine MN

A. Probios is a good product. The foal may be seeking digestive enzymes in mommas poop. The Probios is a good source of beneficial bacteria for the gut. It helps to repopulate good bacterial flora. It is a safe product too. You might try this..see if the foal stops eating the manure. DENA

Q. I just found my gelding eating another horse's poop. Is this normal?? I did not know horses did that and I am wondering if it means there is something lacking in his diet. We have had him 1 1/2 years and he has just started this. He has always been a chewer (wood and rubber mats) Any advice appreciated. Wendy

A. I have witnessed two of my horses, a 12 year old and a 2 year old, eat poop. My 2 year old will eat his own poop between feedings (as though he thinks he's not getting enough to eat?). I have yet to witness my newest horse (brought him home Friday), a yearling mini gelding, eat poop, but I'm sure he does. My 12 year old eats it from the pasture and I don't know if it's hers or not (I board her & she's pastured with other horses).

If you're worried you could feed him some probiotics. I've been told by an Equine Nutritionist "the best" is ProBios. I always give my horses probiotics after worming, I wait one day and then feed the probiotics for 2 to 3 days. I also feed it to them when they've been under stress (like the one mini who HATES the vet), he always gets his probios after a vet visit, again for 2 to 3 days.

So, I would not worry, it is a normal behavior, unless he starts eating poop and nothing else! Rhonda


BREEDING FAQ's

Q. I was wondering how I would go about testing a stallion to see if he is homozygous for the black gene. About how much does it cost and what do you have to do?

A. This page has just about everything you need to get you started...info on color genetics and how to get testing http://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/service/horse/coatcolor.html

Right now the color testing is limited to base colors (red or black), agouti (gene that modifies black to bay), cream (dilute gene - palomino, buckskin, smokey black, cremello, perlino, smokey cream), Lethal White Overo (frame overo), and tobiano.   They are working on a few new tests; Sabino 1 is the first to become available. You could test for LWO and Sabino 1 (sabino is usually grouped with overo patterns). 

Other DNA tests are available through Animal Genetics, Inc., 1336 Timberlane Road, Tallahassee, FL 32312  850-386-2973.  They use hair.  Get a result in 5 working days or less.  It was $25.00.  They will send the results email and than follow up with a nice certificate.

Q. We just bought a mare in foal. She is a roan. She is due any day. Her bag dropped and I see the nipples. How much longer? I am a nervous wreck. Thanks, Lea NJ

A. Click here to see the foaling article by Jan Easter

A. Can you express any milk out? This can often give you good indicators of impending birth - it will usually go from more clear and slippery to white and pasty feeling - but this can also happen just as she is birthing!
When the nipples start pointing away from each other instead of toward each other, you are getting closer. Watch her belly daily - when the foal moves into position (unless it is already there), she will go from very rounded out on the sides with more "slab-sided" and her belly will hang lower.
She should get very "jello" like around the tail head and her privates should get very elongated and loose.
Now this is too much for some people but also a dead giveaway for my mares, but if you check their vulva area (just part it a bit), they will get much more red than previous days - sometimes streaky dark areas - this is increased blood flow and a very good sign of impending birth. Sorry if that is much more than you wanted to know.
They day or so before birthing, she may go off her feed (this was a dead giveaway for one of my mares) - she may get very sweaty in the shoulder area and very restless, up and down, sometimes rolling a bit to position the foal better.
Her manure will get more soft and more often as well before foaling.
These are just signs I've noted to look for before foaling - not all mares will get them but it's good to know them anyway.
Good luck! ~Sandy

 

Q. It's been so long since I bred my QH mares I can't remember exactly . . . . . . if my mare has been in with my stallion since June 16 - and was in season until about June 19th from what I observed . . . . When should I expect to see her come back in season if she didn't take?  I was thinking it was like 18 days or something?  I'm so hoping it is around that time as we are leaving on vacation on July 13th and I want to know if possible before I leave if she possibly took so I won't be wondering next year when she might be due.

Now, my other question is I have just left her in with my stallion.  They get along fine . .  she puts him in his place which he needs and he seems much calmer and happy.    How often do they let the stallion mount when they are already bred?  (anticipating them continuing breeding even if she is bred as I know this happens).  I can take her out of his pasture - but they seem happy and I thought I could just leave them together if they are getting along. Sandy 

A. A "normal" cycle is every 21 days. Meaning that she should come back into heat 21 days from the start of the last heat cycle. So if she came in on June 16th, then expect her back in on or around July 7th. Mares can vary from about 18 to 31 days. Older mares may have longer than normal cycles. Ovulation (or the fertile period) generally occurs 24 to 48 hours before the mare goes out of heat. I have seen them breed the following cycle even though by ultra sound the mare took the cycle before.( maybe the body didn't know if was preggo yet LOL) I have never seen them try to breed beyond the first cycle after they settled. If they are all happy together I would leave them in with one another. My opinion. DENA

Q. I bred my stallion to one of my mares for the first time this year. I actually let my membership expire from the AMHA/AMHR just because there was no real reason for me to join this year. I'm now not sure when I have to file the breeding report with both memberships - is there a deadline?
~Sandy

A. You can download forms and info at both reg. on line, yes there is a deadline.
http://www.amha.org/

http://www.shetlandminiature.com/

-Bambi Roylance [lazyrranch@email.com]

A. The deadline for the AMHR and AMHA is January 15 – there is no fee if filed before that time. In regard to AMHR, you cannot put a miniature mare on a Shetland stallion report – or a Shetland mare on a miniature stallion report. If your Shetland mare is not AMHR also, then the resulting foal can only be registered as a National Show Pony after DNA testing. Same if your stallion is Shetland and not miniature – then the miniature mare’s foal can only be registered as a NSP.
You do not have to have an up to date membership for AMHR to file the stallion report if it is filed on time; you will have to have a membership to register any foals. I am not sure what AMHA’s policy is on membership and filing the report. Both registries have a $25 late fee if filed after 1/15 – however, AMHA also has a $10 per mare fee after that date and requires DNA testing of the foal if the foal is born before the report is filed. Cathy and Mike Buehrer


FACILITIES FAQs

Fencing

Q. I just put a deposit on a beautiful little overo mare. We need to get up a fence. When our big horses were here we used hotwire. What type of fencing is recommended for minis. I would like some ideas for fencing a paddock. Thanks. Kay
A. While they are a bit expensive, cattle panels when laced together at the ends are the closest thing you can get to Mini proof fencing. They are also easy to set up, a T post on each end, one in the middle and tie them up. Another advantage is they are easy to take down and move. You can get metal cutting blades that fit a regular skill saw and cut them if you don't want full length panels, or need short ones for gates, etc. -Bob


Q. Hi, all. I'm in the research phase right now, as it'll be about a year or two before I'm able to buy a pair of minis. I would like to ask if any of you use high-tension wire fence, and if so, how do you like it for your horses? What spacing do you use and do you have a brand preference? Electric or non-?
A. We have tried high tensile fence, we spaced 8 lines about 6 inches apart. However we put woven field fence around the perimeter. Now we are going to have to get rid of the high tensile. It was less expensive but is a "pain". No matter how often we retighten those lines the horses have their heads through or rub their butts on the lines and get a back leg through. We breed and the little ones occasionally end up on the other side of the fence. It was less expensive then, but now will cost us more as we replace it. I wouldn't make the same mistake again. Anne
 

Round Pens

Q. What size round pen is needed for training a mini?  Are people making their own or buying the round pen panels?  If you make your own, what materials do you use?  Thanks!  I appreciate the knowledge that is shared on this list. Kay B.

A. I put up my round corral with my full-size horses in mind, but I think it'll be a good size for the minis as well. I bought Hi-Qual 10' Range panels; there are 10 regular panels and one panel with 4' walkthrough gate. It made about a 50' diameter round pen and seems to be a good size for the full-size horses; you could probably get by with smaller for the minis, but could do more in the 50' size.  I've seen post and rail round corrals, but then you have to have permanent place to locate them. Hope this helps a little.


 

Much of this information has been collected from the internet, a lot of it from Mini-Corner, our miniature horse email list on Yahoo Groups. Subscribe to Mini-Corner Now:

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