Q: Can Miniature Horses be ridden?
Answered by Suzette Ostreim
A: Miniature Horses, like any other horse breed, can be ridden, and must be treated exactly like their larger counterparts when being selected for a riding career. Just like with the large breeds, the Miniature Horse must be mature in age and physical development (usually at around three or four years of age) before he can be ridden – it is all too common to see people putting children onto the backs of young Miniatures, simply assuming that they are just small horses. This is more of a challenge in Miniature Horses than in foals of larger breeds, as some Miniature foals can look like mature adults because of the large variety of Miniature types with different builds in South Africa.
The average Miniature Horse weighs somewhere between 60 and 160kg. It is recommended for both a large breed horse and a Miniature that they not carry more than 20% of their own body weight. This places a maximum weight of 32kg on a large Miniature Horse of 160kg (who are usually somewhere between 95cm and 100cm in height).
Miniature Horses should never be overloaded or ridden for long periods of time. The smaller the horse, the less he should be ridden. You must also remember that they are just like large horses with the same anatomy and requirements in terms of the fit of tack – the saddle, bridle and bit must all be fitted correctly to avoid injury.