How Much Space Does A Miniature Horse Need?

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Last Updated on January 29, 2023

Both pet owners and avid horse riders love miniature horses. Although many horse owners choose minis as companion animals for their full-size horses, some owners choose minis due to their smaller space requirements. With these decreased pasture needs, how much space does a miniature horse need?

How Much Space Does a Miniature Horse Need?

Stall Requirements

Most miniature horses, although significantly smaller than standard horses, use standard stalls. A standard stall is typically a 12’x12′, some smaller sizes are 10’x10′. Although miniature horses do well in 6’x8′ sized stalls, it is usually more economical and easier to use a standard measurement. 6’x8′ does provide enough room to lay and move around as needed, but a 10×10’+ will provide additional room. This may also be important for future animals or resale of the property and barn in the future.

Stall Requirements

Pasture Requirements

Pasture requirements are vastly different for minis! Whether a companion animal for a large horse or a hobby farm addition on small acreage, minis are a great option if space is an issue. Three miniature horses can live comfortably on only 1 acre of land! In spring and summer months when the grass is lush, this space may also provide enough forage during turnout. The individual minimum land requirement for a miniature horse is usually 1/4 of an acre per mini. However, large minis may need 1/3 to 1/2 acre.

The smaller the space, however, the more likely your mini will need additional exercise. Although it may be hard to think of a mini in the same capacity as a full-sized horse, minis have the same need to expend energy and stretch out. Small farms are ideal for miniature horses, so long as they have the opportunity to run and play.

Backyard Friends and State Law

Many people with larger yard sizes in suburban areas ask about keeping miniature horses in their backyard. With the growing use of miniature horses as therapy horses, many owners do not live in rural areas. Space requirements do not change for minis; however, some areas will allow residents to apply for permits. Many states only have restrictions on “split hoof” animals (such as cattle or sheep) in residential areas. As long as the minimum space requirements are met, many areas will allow miniature horses or permits for minis. However, the space requirements are different as per local ordinance. We recommend checking with your local and state laws before planning on putting a mini in your backyard!

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Full-Size Horse Comparison – How Much Space Does a Miniature Horse Need?

Although three minis can comfortably live on one-acre, full-size horses require significantly more space. A good rule of thumb is 1.5-2 acres per horse. This is a minimum recommendation, however. This space should be enough for a horse to run freely, poop away from highly grazed areas, and will provide sufficient forage if growing grass. However, full-sized horses frequently require more exercise than minis and can find themselves getting into trouble when kept in smaller spaces. Most counties will also have ordinances regarding space requirements for horses when kept at a residence.

As for stalls, the minimum stall size for full-sized horses is 10’x10’. This increases depending on the breed and size. For example, warmblood or draft breeds (and larger horses such as Saddlebreds) will likely require a minimum stall size of 12’x12’. It is important a horse can move freely in the stall as well as lay down without being forced to lay directly in manure or urine. (If they do this on their own accord it’s one thing, but horses should be able to avoid it if they want to.)

Variables that Affect Mini horse’s Space Requirements

Again, several factors can affect a miniature horse’s space requirements. Young frisky horses with lots of playtime and movement will do better in larger spaces, whereas slower-moving senior horses may not need as much. As horse numbers increase, space requirements must increase to avoid potential injury and over-grazing. Regardless of your opinion on “appropriate” space, legal requirements must be met in your area. Some counties grant exceptions to registered boarding or show facilities where horses are stalled full-time but receive daily turnout and work for exercise. This is especially important for facilities grandfathered into some city limit areas.

Final Thoughts – How Much Space Does a Miniature Horse Need?

Although minis are fun and far easier to keep on smaller land, it is important to remember they are still horses. Their needs and wants are the same as full-sized horses, just scaled back in size to some degree. Whether a companion, backyard grazer or hobby-farm addition, make sure you provide adequate space for your miniature horse!

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Are mini horses easy to care for?

On the whole, yes. They are a small breed, so they require less food and less space than an average sized horse. They are also very agile and energetic, so they are good for a wide variety of activities. Mini horses need to have regular exercise. They require a lot of walking, trotting and cantering. The exercise will help the horse to burn off the excess energy and is particularly important for young foals, because they are very energetic. 

How much does it cost to take care of a miniature horse?

It’s an important question to ask, because you may be surprised by the answer. If you are looking to buy a miniature horse, you will want to make sure you are fully prepared to take care of it. You have to consider things like the feed, medical expenses, veterinary expenses, and even the cost of housing.
To give you an idea of the costs involved, we decided to take a look at what it costs to take care of a miniature horse. In average it will cost you approximately $25 per month to feed one miniature horse. If you need to hire a stable for your horse, the cost for that will be between $50 and $150 per month.

Do miniature horses need a companion?

It’s always recommended to keep more than one horse as horses are social animals and need contact with other horses. Therefore, a miniature horse is recommended to have a companion, to give the horse a chance to socialize with other horses. For a companion to be an effective horse playmate, it needs to be an appropriate age and have a personality that is compatible with the horse’s. If a horse has a companion of the wrong type, then it can cause the horse to become stressed out and possibly even become aggressive.

Can you keep a miniature horse in your backyard?

Yes, you can if that’s legal in your country, and if your backyard is big enough and will provide a horse with a pasture and a shelter. Miniature horses require much less space than a normal horse, they will also consume less feed. This makes them a great alternative for people who love horses but don’t have space or funds to sustain an average sized horse. Miniature horses are also known for their intelligence and ability to learn quickly. They are great companions and have been used in a wide range of activities including dressage, jumping, driving and performance events. 

How much land do you need for a mini horse?

Before you purchase your first horse, it is important to consider how much land you need. You will need enough land to build a proper barn, stable, and paddock. Equally important, how much land can you afford? These are the two questions that should be answered before purchasing a mini horse.
Land is the most important component of a horse’s living area. A horse should be able to stretch out and feel comfortable in his/her stall. In addition, a horse should have access to a large paddock with room to run and graze. In general, only 1 acre of land is sufficient for 3 mini horses to live comfortably.

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