Miniature horses: they’re cute, they’re cuddly, and they need your help to stay safe in the paddock. Just like their full-sized cousins, mini horses need quality fencing around their pastures to keep them in and keep predators out!
How does horse fencing change when you’re dealing with the miniature variety? Here’s what you need to know.
Miniature Horses vs. Common Horses
At first glance, miniature horses might appear to be some breed of pony. However, this is not the case; mini horses are literally smaller versions of regular horses — and that means they have the same fight or flight instincts. Any fence you install for your mini horses needs to be able to keep them safely inside.
The Psychology of Fencing
Most horse owners see fencing as a utilitarian tool. They have two primary purposes: keep the horses in and keep the predators out. Sure, it’s nice if your fencing looks attractive, but the goal first and foremost must be establishing that physical barrier.
While it is important to keep your horses physically safe, fencing actually serves a greater purpose than that. A fence is also a psychological barrier for your horses, telling them where they can safely wander on your property.
This is especially important for miniature horses, who tend to be very curious and remarkably adept at wriggling themselves into places they shouldn’t be. Your fence will help prevent your horses from getting TOO curious and exploring somewhere that isn’t safe.
Key Considerations for a Fence
Of course, when you’re building a fence for your mini horses you can make SOME adjustments to accommodate your little (and we mean that literally) guys. What should you consider while you build your fence? Use our list to help you plan properly.
Anytime you start a DIY project, you need to take an honest look at your budget and determine just how much you’re willing to spend. Once you have that figure, you can find the best quality materials that suit your horse’s needs and your bank account. Remember, quality is key for safety — but it doesn’t have to be too expensive.
What exactly is the best quality material for your miniature horse’s fence? The answer often varies from one equestrian to the next, but there’s one thing we all agree on: the best choice is the one that’s safest for your animals.
This is why many mini horse owners avoid things like wood post and rail fencing; wood boards are prone to splintering on impact, and an active mini horse can easily get injured if he crashes into the fence.
Horses that often run into the fence or try to climb may require non-climb wire fencing to prevent their hooves from getting tangled in the woven wire. No-Climb fencing is also built to withstand daily wear and tear which gives it an even greater life expectancy.
Mini horses don’t need as much space as standard horses, but it is typically recommended to have ¼ of an acre per mini horse. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that minis LOVE to run. If you have the extra space to let them play, go ahead and indulge them — it’s super fun to watch them zoom around the paddock.
Type of Pasture
Mini horses may have small bodies, but they have the appetites of full-sized stallions. Obesity can be a real problem among this breed, which is why most horse owners suggest keeping your minis out of lush, green pastures. They might overeat and become too big and unhealthy.
Instead, make sure to keep your minis on a healthy diet of soft grass hay (about 1.5% of their body weight per day), plus a few healthy treats here and there.
Your Miniature Horse
Finally, let’s discuss the biggest element you’ll need to consider when building your mini’s fence: the horses themselves! Mini horses are surprisingly athletic, and they’re often jumping over fences or even crawling under them to escape and explore.
Consider your horse’s temperament as you create your fence, and make sure you’re prepared for anything (for example, you might want to make the fence a little taller than you think you’ll need).
The Best Fencing for Miniature Horses
These considerations can help you create the ideal fenced area for your miniature horses — but you might be surprised to find that the “ideal” isn’t the same for everyone. Your budget, your available space, and (most importantly) your horse’s needs will dictate what’s best for your fence.
Remember, your horse’s physical (and psychological) safety is the most important part of all your fencing. So take your time, gauge your horse’s response to the fenced area, and keep that sweet little mini safe and happy!