Miniature Horses what Size Rider is appropriate

There is a good deal of debate on whether or not miniature horses should be ridden. It must be noted that miniature horses are not built the same as ponies and while some shorter ponies are still sturdy enough to be ridden by heavier children this may not be true for all miniature horses. Different countries, and different registries, use different standards to classify what is, and what is not, a miniature horse; by the AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association) a miniature horse cannot measure over 34 inches (8.2 hands) at the withers.

General Rules of Thumb in Regards to Riding Miniature Horses

Miniature horses may appear full grown at two years of age, but their joints are often not fully developed until they are four years old, as such they should not be ridden until they are four years of age.

Miniature horses were not built with being ridden in mind, their build is not suited to this purpose as ideally as a person might think. While minis “can” be ridden by adults, they should not as it can be very hard on their legs and back.

If a person’s legs are longer than the horse’s legs they are probably too big to ride the horse. If a person’s feet hang down to the knees of the horse, they are probably too big to ride the horse.

People weighing over 50 pounds are too heavy to ride a miniature horse. People who weigh over 50 pounds, but less than 80 pounds, might be able to ride horses that are sometimes called division B miniatures, horses measuring 34 to 38 inches and are often more muscular.

Miniature horses that stand under 30 inches (7.2 hands) are generally too small to be ridden at all. Just because the miniature horse is small does not mean it is suitable for a child’s mount. Small riders might not have the strength to control a miniature horse, nor the riding knowledge and experience.

Alternatives to Riding a Miniature Horse

Miniature horses excel in driving and they are often built better for driving, then for ridding as there is less risk of damage to their back and/or legs.

Miniature horses were developed more as a novelty animal than a practical riding mount. As such they should be considered more as pets, or for light draft work, than for riding. Some of the smaller pony breeds, such as the Shetland pony, are better suited to being ridden.