Can You Ride A Mini Horse – Yes, No, Maybe?

Last Updated on March 5, 2022

It is easy to see the attraction of tiny, adorable versions of a full-sized horse but one question that commonly comes up is, can you ride a mini horse? While it is tempting to treat a mini horse differently to their larger cousins, you must remember they are still a horse. With this in mind, you need to take the same considerations when deciding to ride a mini horse.

When Can You Ride A Mini Horse

Just like full-sized horses, before considering riding a mini horse, it must be mentally and physically mature. The average age for a horse to begin its riding career is three or four. Be careful not to let the mini horse’s physical appearance fool you into thinking it is ready to be ridden. A mini horse often looks more mature at age three than a large horse breed at age three. The takeaway here is to wait until a mini horse is an appropriate age before riding it.

How Much Weight Can A Mini Horse Take

The subject of how much weight a horse can carry is increasingly debated. It is also a sensitive topic to discuss as it can cause offense to some riders. When discussing weights a horse can take, it is important to consider the whole picture and find a balance between science and reality.

The general rule is that a horse should not carry more than 20-percent of its body weight. This weight includes the saddle. So for example, if a horse weighs 1,000-pounds the maximum weight it can take is 200-pounds.

How Much Weight Can A Mini Horse Take

The average weight of a mini horse is between 132 and 353 pounds. Using the formula, it means that a mini can carry between 26.4 and 70.6 pounds. This greatly limits who can actually ride a miniature horse to toddlers and small children.

Additionally, mini horses cannot take as much riding work as larger horses. Also, according to the percentage rule, due to their small size, it is important to not go over the maxim weight. Too much weight on a mini horse will cause them pain, strain their back and legs, and make it difficult for them to move.

Based on the percentage rule, small children can ride a mini horse. However, to do this, you will need to take precautions. Just like a large horse starting its riding career, a mini horse takes time to understand carrying a rider.

When a horse is learning to carry a rider, it can react in a dangerous way. Since mini horses are most suited to children, it can create a dangerous situation for a child. This makes training a mini horse difficult since an adult cannot do the initial training.

Is Your Mini Horse Rideable

Just like a full-sized horse, you need to evaluate the horse in front of you to know if it’s rideable. One of the most important factors regarding a mini horse is its temperament since only small children can ride it. Soundness, body condition, and age all factor into deciding if you can ride a mini horse.

M-Royal 10″ Pony Mini Horse Saddle Kids Pleasure Leather Brown Western Saddle

Driving A Mini Horse

Driving mini horses is a popular activity. When working out how much a mini horse can pull, apply a similar percentage rule to the one used for riding weight. However, since driving involves pulling a cart with wheels, the maximum weight increases.

To work out how much a mini horse can pull, work out 150-percent of its body weight. In other words, a mini horse that weighs 150-pounds can pull a maxim of 225-pounds. This means that the mini can pull a small, light cart and average-sized adult.

Mini Horses Make Great Companions

Even though mini horses can take limited riding, they are best suited as companions. They have lovely, kind temperaments and enjoy the company of children and other horses. Their small size is less intimidating to kids, which allows them to form great friendships together.

Not only do mini horses make great companions for children, and even adults, they are perfect for larger horses that need a friend.

Fun Activities For Mini Horses

If you can’t ride your mini horse, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience hours of fun with him. Here is a list of just some activities you can do together.

  • In hand jumping
  • Liberty training
  • In hand showing
  • Obstacle courses
  • Therapy visits
  • Showmanship competitions

Interesting Mini Horse Facts

Mini horses usually live longer than full-sized horses, with many reaching the age of 35 or older. The American Miniature Horse Association states that a mini horse cannot stand taller than 34-inches.

See miniature horses working as therapy horses in this beautiful video.

Mini Horse History

The mini horse was carefully developed over decades and refined into the breed we see today. The mini horse was first found in Europe in the 18th-century. The first mini horses pulled carts in mines, and some lucky ones became the pets of royalty.

The first mini horses arrived in the United States in the 19th-century. These first US minis also work in mines, like their European counterparts. The breed’s only resemblance to ponies is its small size.

In all other ways, build, temperament, and genetically minis are more like horses.

One specific type of miniature horse is the Falabella. The Falabella originates in Argentina, where the breeder wanted to create the perfect horse in miniature. Falabellas can trace their origins to a mixture of thoroughbreds, Shetland ponies, Arabians, quarter horses, and possibly the Welsh pony.

The first Falabella arrived in the United States in 1962. 

Mini Horse History


While you can ride a mini horse if you’re small enough, it isn’t what these adorable little horses are meant for. You can enjoy many non-riding activities with a mini. Because a mini costs less to feed, they make great companions to larger horses.

If you do train your mini horse to carry a small rider, make sure it is safe to put a child on. Finally, use tack that fits the mini horse correctly, especially make sure the saddle does not sit too far on its back.

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below.

Are mini horses hard to care for?

Miniature horses are fun and enjoyable animals to raise and care for. They are usually easy to care for and their cost is much lower than that of a full size horse. Miniature horses can be kept in any stable or barn setting. They do not require a stall, paddock or other large space as full-sized horses do. However, just like all horses, mini horses need to have access to a well-maintained water source and hay. Miniature horses are very smart and quick learners, which makes them great pets. They are extremely loyal to their owners and their families. They love to be around people and will be very eager to please their human companions.

What age can you ride a mini horse?

With proper supervision, kids can start riding a mini horse at about the age of 2-3 years old. Some schools do even offer courses for toddlers. The sooner a child gets used to being around horses and handle them, the faster they get comfortable around those animals and the easier it is for kids to learn how to ride. 

What is the point of a mini horse?

Miniature horses are great pets for many reasons. They are smaller in size than larger horses and are more affordable to own. They are also easier to care for and have a more kind personality than larger horses. Miniature horses are generally not very loud and do not have much of a bad smell. They are also less intimidating than larger horses and  make great companions for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities due to their small size and gentle personality. Miniature horses are a great choice for any person looking to have a fun and healthy pet.

What do miniature horses eat?

The American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) has been offering a free mini horse nutrition and feeding program for many years. The program is now called the Mini Horse Feeding Program. The purpose of the program is to educate horse owners on how to feed their miniature horses a balanced diet. There are no minimum or maximum amounts of any particular ingredient required. All ingredients must be fed in adequate amounts to ensure that your horse is getting all the nutrients it needs. In average, a miniature horse should eat from 2 to 4 pounds of forage per day. The hay should be a fine, soft, leafy hay rather than a coarse, mature hay. If fed too much, the horse’s digestive system could become compromised and it can experience weight gain.

How big do miniature horses get?

Miniature horses are generally shorter than 3 feet tall. In the United States, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) says that a miniature horse can be maximum 34 inches tall at the withers. An average a miniature horse weighs around 200 pounds. 
Miniature horses are one of the most peculiar of all horse breeds. They are usually found in large herds and are kept for their gentle nature and good temperament. They are also well-suited for children. The first miniature horses were bred in France in the late 18th century. In the early 20th century, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) began breeding the horses.