Have you ever wanted to own a horse, and the cost has scared you off? Or you completely lack the space to keep one? Good news! No, no, BEST news! Miniature horses are for you! Or, at least they could be… Let’s go through a piece by piece breakdown of exactly how much does a miniature horse costs, as well as a monthly breakdown of their upkeep. How much does a miniature horse cost?
How much does a miniature horse cost?
As with any breed of horse, their purchase price varies… a lot. A high-end show mini can sell anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000+. If you’re looking at purchasing a miniature horse for the first time, chances are good you’re not looking to purchase a world-class show mini.
In this cost break down we will be looking into mini’s for home use, or local level show circuits. This mini rarely sells for more than $4,000, and it is quite easy to find a trained mini for less than $1,000, especially if you are willing to travel for the right match.
The monthly costs of owning a miniature horse
Horse Feeds and Supplements
The good news, they actually do eat way less than a regular-sized horse. You should budget for your mini to eat 1.5% of their body weight every day in hay. Hay can cost anywhere from $4 -$15 a bale, and the average miniature horse goes through about 4 pounds of hay A DAY. That’s pretty great on the budget considering an adult large breed horse can go through 15 to 40 pounds of hay a day.
Most minis can live on very little grain. It’s so important that you know they are getting what they need from their hay. The best way to know this is to have your hay tested, so you know what deficiencies are in their diet. A good ration balancing grain is appropriate for a mini, as it focuses on vitamins and minerals, without the high calories that come with the regular grain. Grain can cost $6-$30 for a 40-pound bag.
Supplements are not required to keep your mini going around, but as most minis don’t need any extra grain, they are a great source to cover deficiencies in your feed or to boost horses with issues in their hooves, airways, and everything else you can imagine. They can range from 10 cents to $4 a day, or even higher.
Supplements can add up QUICKLY, And there are A LOT of false claims out there. Do your research, and only buy what is truly needed for your mini.
If you have a large property and you were hoping to cut all feed costs by throwing your mini out on the grass field, wild and free, I have bad news for you. While they will tell you they love their life out on the grass, most miniature horses aren’t suited for it. They are particularly prone to obesity, leading to founder and laminitis. Mini’s are safest on dry lots and must be monitored carefully while on the grass.
Read more about How Much Space Does A Miniature Horse Need?
Boarding Your Mini Horse
Now that we’ve fed them, what oh what, do we do with all that poo? You have a couple of options here. You could board your mini and never think about poo again. Umm yea right… once you own a horse you smell like poo, you look like poo, you have poo on your feet, and you’ll probably have a dream or about poo too. That’s right. Enjoy that.
Anyway.. it’s harder than you’d think to board a miniature horse. Most boarding facilities are not set up for the entirely different lifestyle that a mini needs, (fencing, turn out arrangements, bucket levels,) and will turn you away. So we are going to look into homegrown care for your mini.
Check some approx. prices of boarding a mini horse here.
Back to poo! The very best use- put it in your garden! This is the best free fertilizer, like, ever. When I was young, not only was it in all of our flower beds, but the neighbors would come and help themselves to it as well for their own garden needs. Open it up to your neighbors for their use, and the pile will stay manageable.
- Waste Management Company
Your other option is to have it carted away. There are waste management options for this, dumps will take them, and deliver you a new bin each week to fill, which they will remove and dump for you. These can run from $50 to $1000 a month, depending on the size of your bin, as well as the number of picks up and drop offs you need each month.
There are also arraignments you can make with local farmers to come and take away your manure, they rarely turn down free fertilizer.
Bi-monthly, and Annual costs of owning a horse
Trimming and Shoeing
This is where the big bucks happen. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because they eat less, they require less care. It’s false and leads to many mini’s being in poor health. Mini’s require trims every six to eight weeks. A trim can range from $30-$100 dollars. Mini’s are rarely shod, but some do require special shoes, which can run upwards of $400.
Veterinarians are now recommending all breeds of horses be dewormed two times a year, costing an average $40 annually.
Miniature Horse Health
Once a year you’ll need to schedule a health workup on your mini. Mini’s require dental work annually, as well as their vaccinations. Depending on your barn, or your traveling agenda, you may also need a Coggins and a health certificate.
Dental work averages between $100-$200. Vaccinations can be as low as $60 if you do them yourself, or over $200 with the vet administering. The cost of vaccinations depends heavily on what shots your horse requires. You can expect a Coggins and health certificate to be no less than $50, per exam.
Don’t forget to budget for an emergency! It’s hard to plan for an unknown cost, but it’s better to have an emergency fund set aside than to realize you truly can’t afford to help your miniature horse in the case of an emergency. Nothing is more heartbreaking. Set aside what you can afford each month, and let it rack up until you have a hefty emergency fund. You should aim to have enough to cover the surgery if they should need it.
Home Sweet Home. Facilities
Mini’s do require fencing and shelter as well. If you are not showing your mini, a simple size-appropriate lean-to is an excellent shelter option, allowing them the freedom to come and go, but the protection to get out of the bugs, sun, and rain.
Fencing is the biggest difficulty here- don’t underestimate their ability to get out! Hard round panel fencing works well, with full wire fencing covering the fence so they can’t stick their heads between the bars. Try to set them up in a large breed enclosure, and they will be out faster than Houdini himself!
Don’t forget, mini’s still need some room to roam, it’s recommended that you have at least one acre per three mini’s. Check your local zoning laws for size requirements.
Mini’s are herd animals. It is strongly recommended if you are keeping your mini at home, that you provide at least one other horse (large or small breed,) donkey, lama, zebra, you get my point.. for their mental and emotional health. Mini’s are absolutely not meant to be solitary animals.
Speaking of solitary animals, miniature horses need ground training just as thoroughly as any large breed horse would require.
All the ribbons and all of the Glory… sort of…
So you’ve got your miniature horse and his faithful buddy home, tucked into their new shelter and swanky mini proof fence… now what? Don’t think they are suited to walking around the backyard and nothing more! There is a wonderful show world available to them. Mini’s show competitively at both local and national levels. Every year there is a World Championship Show held in Fort Worth, TX.
Mini’s are shown in halter classes where they are judged on their appearance; In hand performance classes, such as in hand trail, jumping, showmanship, and liberty; And a multitude of different disciplined cart driving classes.
They have a wide range of classes and disciplines available to them. Unfortunately, mini’s are almost never appropriate to ride, even for children. It is important to remember that horses should never hold more than 20% of their body weight. For a 250 pound miniature horse, that is 50 pounds, including tack. Saddles weigh anywhere from 20-40 pounds on their own.
Don’t be discouraged, mini’s are VERY popular in the cart classes because they are able to pull full-sized adults and youth alike.
Cute as a button
With the appropriate care and budgeting system, mini’s are an excellent and economical option for horse ownership. Plus, there is nothing cuter than a miniature horse. We in the horse world stand united on a few things, but this is definitely one of them. Here’s to the little guys!
The American Miniature Horse Association put together an awesome comparison sheet for miniature horses vs large breed horses. Check it out here: AMHA – The Profitability of Miniature Horses
Did we miss something? Let us know! Comment below on the biggest expenses you have with Miniature Horse ownership, and tell us how you budget to keep your mini’s happy and healthy.