For some reason, the most common question that we’re asked is “What can you do with a miniature horse?” The answer is: lots of things. They are used for companionship, show, as therapy animals, for investment, or any combination of these things.
Miniatures are great as pets/companion animals. They’re smaller than “big” horses so they can be kept in the back yard just as you’d keep a dog or cat, and are lower maintenance than other breeds of horses. They take up less space, eat less, make less of a mess, and don’t require shoes like many other breeds. They can be handled by children (I started showing when I was 3), or by the elderly (one of our customers bought a mini for his mother’s 96th birthday). Any age will do. For people who are intimidated by big horses or had an accident with them in the past, or just don’t have the energy for them anymore, miniatures are the perfect alternative to still be able to enjoy the beauty of the horse.
At shows you can do anything you do with a big horse except for ride. That might sound like a joke at first, like there’s nothing left if you take riding away, but boy would you be wrong. The two major associations for miniature horses, the American Miniature Horse Assciation (AMHA), and the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) and their clubs offer halter, color, liberty, showmanship, jumper, hunter, obstacle, driving obstacle, and costume classes to youth, amateur and open exhibitors at local, regional, and world level shows.
Many have probably heard about miniatures being used as therapy animals. The seeing-eye-miniature horse idea got some publicity for a while there. However, our favorite use of them therapy-wise is done by Hearts and Hooves. Hearts and Hooves is a non-profit organization that takes miniatures to hospitals, nursing homes, and many other places to provide emotional healing.
Finally, miniatures, like many other animals, can be used as investments. Developing a winning history in the show ring can increase a miniatures value, as can breeding.