A few notes for first-time Miniature Horse owners.
Please call us between 1pm and 2pm (13.00 hrs - 14.00 hrs GMT) for further information.
Visits to the stud in Norfolk strictly by appointment on Sundays and Wednesdays between 2pm - 4pm.

Updated 7th March 2017

Home



Falabella Atonada with Equuleus Thriller (by Limelight's Point Break)
Photo: Ray Mumford

Miniature horses are not difficult to look after.

Almost every day we get a call from someone who has acquired a miniature horse and wants to know how to look after it!

If you have bought from a reputable breeder you will have been given advice on feeding, worming etc.
If you have bought at auction (for example) you will possibly be ‘in the dark’, without a clue how to keep your horse happy, healthy and alive!



Equuleus Jessica.
By Micatos Montana ex Charlotte of Kilverstone.
Great, great grand daughter of Falabella Al Graten
Jessica is pictured here with Mrs Brenda Sutcliffe whose daughter Helen won Falabella Al Graten in a newspaper competition in 1974.
Photo Ray Mumford



Most Falabellas enjoy human company and particularly that of children - here Minette of Fort becomes a unicorn for a day,
in the company of  her colt foal - Atlas of Fort, and Miss Alice and Bojena Lewis.
Photo courtesy: Sarah Bourne

It is unacceptable to keep one horse on its own -
As a herd animal it requires the company of its own kind in order to thrive.



Falabella Chico

Chico and a friend at Kilverstone Latin American Wildlife Park/ New World Zoo in 1977.
Photo:
Studio Five
courtesy: The Lady Rosamund Fisher

It is actually illegal in Sweden to keep just one horse - other countries can learn from this high example of animal welfare.
A miniature horse can be kept with a big horse but common sense must be used when introducing them to each other.
 



Our horses are kept in as natural a way as possible, free to graze and browse the great diversity of grasses, herbs, mosses, fruits, tree barks and leaves that grow on
our organic meadows here in Breckland.

The following paragraphs are intended as guidelines for the complete novice owner, and for the experienced ‘big horse’ owner who can
frequently get it wrong with a mini horse.


If you are new to miniature horses do not assume your vet will know it all.
Many vets in this country are not aware of conditions which are peculiar to miniatures.

The testicles of miniature horses can be retained inside far longer than is normal for big horses.
 
Miniature horses can appear anaemic in blood tests when compared to big horses but this is not unusual.
Consult a book on miniature horses for normal blood parametres but be aware that anaemia can also be the result of a heavy worm burden.

These are just two examples but there are many more.



Never use a hay-net.
There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ hay-net for miniatures and sooner or later you will have a disaster.
Hay bags are the safer option.
Equuleus Cecilia
photo:- courtesy: Pauline Young
   
Miniatures sometimes don't drink enough, which can result in impaction colic.
Provide a salt/mineral lick at all times to encourage drinking.
In very cold weather your horse will appreciate a drink of warm water.

  He or she will not be happy to drink warm water with algae-growth on it in summer.
Water bowls must be regularly cleaned out.

Hay keeps horses warm in the winter as it ferments in the hind gut creating heat.
Good quality hay should form a large percentage of your horse’s diet.
We feed hay all year round as our ground is very sandy.
If forced to graze on our very short grass our horses would develop sand-impaction colic.
We prefer to have large hay bills than dead horses!
We use psyllium (imported from India) in our horses food several times a week.
This natural husk binds any sand remaining in the intestines and carries it safely through the body.

Miniatures require more protein than their larger relations.
After meeting the Bio-chemist Dr Deborah Carley we now feed products from her 'Thunderbrook' range   www.thunderbrook.co.uk
such as Healthy Herbal Chaff and Pure Essentials Base Mix.

Falabellas can cope well in cold climates providing they have access to ad-lib hay, a field shelter, ice-free water and sufficient rugs.





Equuleus Cecilia and Equuleus Cavatina, clearly enjoying the snow in Aberdeenshire.
photos :- courtesy Pauline Young

In hot climates Falabellas will need to be clipped but if the nights are cold, they will require rugs.

  

Equuleus Nashwan and Equuleus Excalibur, clipped, rugged and leaving the Equuleus Falabella Stud, bound for Dubai.
Photo: Ray Mumford


Too much food and certainly the ‘wrong’ type of food can cause the agonising foot problem Laminitis.
Try to feed low sugar, low starch and high fibre.   

All our horses feet are trimmed six-eight weekly, depending on the seasonal hoof growth.



Our farrier Lisa O'Shaughnessy and her assistant Heidi Holder.
Photo: Ray Mumford

   
If you stable your horse on straw you must provide ad-lib hay or he might eat his bedding and get impaction colic.
We know of a number of cases of this happening and more than one fatatality.



No horse should be stabled for more than 12 hours a day. Excercise aids digestion thereby helping to prevent colic.
It also alieviates boredom and that means a happier, more contented horse.
Prime Stabling (above) makes a highly suitable stable for Falabella horses and offers variable door heights.
photo:- courtesy: Pauline Young

All horses should have a comfortable, dry place to lay down, whether it be stable or field shelter.
'It is important for the bed to be comfortable and supportive not just to be kind to your horse, although that is a very good reason.
 Horses need to lie down to get the deep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep they cannot get standing up. 
Horses need an average of 60 minutes of REM sleep every 24 hours, or like humans they will become tired, grumpy and ultimately exhausted'.

Information: Bedmax Shavings.



A beautiful and practical tack-room built by Prime Stabling.
photo:- courtesy: Pauline Young

   
Lice will always be present in thick winter coats but are tiny and not easily seen.
When miniature horses are itching and rubbing, suspect lice first.
Frequent use of an organic product (designed to dry out the exoskelleton) should control the problem.
Lice are a winter/spring problem especially as they love thick winter coats.
   
Never leave miniatures unattended wearing head-collars.
If they get caught by a tree branch (for example) they might not break and the horse could come to harm.

Be aware that young horses might try to play with a bucket and the handle could slip over it's head causing it to panic.
It is best to remove handles if possible.
   
Worming is especially important for miniatures – they do not get ‘miniature’ worms!
We pick up all droppings from our fields daily to help reduce reinfestation between wormings.   

It is important to vaccinate for tetanus and when your vet comes to do your horse’s annual booster you can ask that he/she checks and rasps your horse’s teeth at the same time.
Our horses are vaccinated for tetenus and equine influenza from six months of age. Prior to that they gain immunity from their dam's colostrum, obtained the first time they suckle. 

         With common sense, a  bit of reading and a degree of  luck, you might only need to see your vet once a year.



Limelight's Lord of the Rings and Equuleus Kashmir (both aged two) play-fighting.
Photo: Kamila Lewis

Falabella horses are highly intellegent and easy to train - young male Falabellas are as sweet and gentle as their female counter-parts.
Testosterone levels rise rapidly in colts (as they mature) and this means that even the kindest stallion can be unpredictable once in a while.
Most male Falabellas will lead happier lives as geldings and only truly exceptional colt foals should be considered as future herd sires.






Equuleus Fantastica
By Falabella Yabito ex Falabella Prosapia

Photo: Limelights Animals

Pregnancy and lactation are a tremendous drain on a mare and it is unethical to breed her annually just because she might be capable of conceiving every year.



Minette of Fort, a yearling filly by Limelight's Indian Warrior ex Falabella Niebla.

Photo courtesy: Stella Dutchyn

Home