Is training a miniature horse the same as training a big horse? Lessons from owning a mini.

You may have noticed over the last few weeks that I have a weakness for minis! With all of the photos that I posted involving my minis I have received quite a few questions involving training them. The main question being this; is the training the same as training a ‘big’ horse? Mini horse sack out with bags

For the most part, the answer is yes.

I found that the mini was ideal for my boys to learn more about handling a ‘difficult’ horse without being intimidated. They had experience with well trained horses but had not experienced horses who didn’t always do what they were asked immediately.

Joshua decided that he wanted to buy a mini and train it as a project. We searched and searched and eventually found a mini that an Amish man was selling. She was skinny (quite a feat with a mini) and covered in rain rot…with a broken halter hanging from her head. And she was cheap.Mini horse with tarp

We talked with Joshua about his goals and about the fact that she would be quite a project. We even suggested that maybe he should consider one that was more quiet. But he liked the idea that this mini needed help. She needed training, which was something he wanted to do, and the training would improve her quality of life. His goals were; to learn to train, to improve the quality of one horses life, and to sell, hopefully for a profit.

This video is the end result of Joshua’s hard work. He named the mini ‘Rue’ after the character in The Hunger Games.

One lesson that Joshua learned, which he hadn’t bargained for, was the most difficult one; selling is hard. When Rue’s training was done it was neat to hear that Joshua’s third goal became very, very low on his agenda. His highest priority was finding her a loving, permanent home. With careful screening and teary eyes he managed to find her a forever home. The new owners even sent us pictures of her with braids and ribbons in her hair.

The experience was a win-win-win. Joshua won by learning so much, Rue won by becoming an educated equine which will ensure her future, and I won by helping my son experience life with all of its ups and downs.

Mini horse trained to lay downP.S.-My youngest son took the photos and my oldest edited the video together also:)


  1. Jody Brittain on December 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Rue is totally adorable! Just like a mini, Nose is always in the grass! Teehee…What a wonderful Story!

    • Stacy on December 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Jody-thanks for the complement. I will pass it on to Joshua. She was so funny in the video, typical mini trying to eat the whole time. My favorite was after she layer down she was like, “Oh, look, the grass is closer!” Too cute.

  2. Helen Lou Parnell on December 29, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I love this video! what a great thing Joshua did! I shared this on my timeline.

  3. johanna on December 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    very good work and a really nice looking mini-

  4. Kyle DiCiccio on December 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

    You are a great Mom Stacy.

  5. Robert on December 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Hello Stacy, Sorry for going off topic here but I have send you as you know an e-mail by your website witch you didn’t receive as you told me by Facebook. So i have send it the 25th again and leaved a quote on Facebook but didn’t here from you sins to confirm you received it. Maybe the contact page on the website is not working correctly or is there some other reason. Fact is I’m very curios in your response even if it is not interesting for you. Can you send me a response if you have received it? Regards, Robert

  6. Holly on December 28, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Aw! I love when she lays down, and then just starts nibbling grass! Lol! Clearly not concerned! Fantastic job!

  7. Janett Cotton on December 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Looks like they both were having a good time. How long did it take to get his mini to this level of training.

    • Stacy on December 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      Joshua had her for about seven or eight months when he made this video. He didn’t work her every day during that time though.

  8. Cyn on December 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Well done! When do you consider a horse ready to be sold and what is your criteria for the humans?

  9. Nikki B on December 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Gotta love those ponies, anyone would think they hadn’t been fed! My daughter spends most of her time at riding club trying to keep her ponies nose off the ground 🙂 Awesome job you’ve done with that pony, look forward to seeing you work with the big ones some day.

  10. Susan Phillips on December 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Awesome !!!
    Great job !!!

  11. Kaycie Timm on December 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Wonderful story! Minis are a great training tool for EVERY equestrian of ALL skill levels in my book. They give you such an appreciation for ground work. With a full-size horse or a pony, the goal is almost always to ride and often the important groundwork falls to the wayside once the horse is rideable. With a mini, you aren’t riding at all (unless you a little little kid) and so you are forced to focus on groundwork…and the benefits are enormous! Plus, as you mentioned, interacting with a horses without being intimidated is excellent for children or adults with fear issues.
    PS: I own/train/show 4 wonderful American Miniatures and also enjoy riding and playing with my Morgan. Minis got me started with horses and taught me an appreciation and huge knowledge of groundwork. 🙂

  12. Scharry on December 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Made me giggle that all she seemed interested in is getting those quick bites of grass : )

  13. Norrma Stanley on December 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    We too own a mini that we trained to cart. What a joy Spankey is and the children love him. Joshua you did a wonderful job with her.

  14. terryhronek on December 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Great job Jos, hope you follow in your moms footsteps!

  15. Christy White on December 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Wonderful video with the mini-horse, Rue. She’s a beauty and it’s great that she was trained so well. Kudos to your son for his good work!

  16. Tracy on December 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I LOVE THIS. Such an important way for kids to learn about horses, and to the benefit of one particular horse, who is saved. Thank you, Joshua, for all your hard work with Rue. 🙂

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