Miniature Horses don’t get fat on air.
The truth is, I tend to see more who are too skinny than I do too fat in my travels, and that’s because so many people are told so emphatically early in their Miniature Horse journey to NOT LET THEM GET FAT that in their effort to be good caretakers they’ve gone too far the other way.
I’ve talked to people who have their yearlings on a very restricted diet, without realizing that they were skin and bones under their thick winter coats.
I’ve talked to people who were told by the breeder they bought their young horses from to “never feed them more than a handful of hay” so emphatically that they were sticking with it even though they felt like it was wrong because they could see their horses’ ribs.
I’ve talked to people who were struggling to get weight on their horse, in the summer, but were paying for expensive supplements because they were told that Miniature Horses could never eat grass or they would founder.
Overweight horses come with a lot of health concerns, for sure, which is why people are so adamant about avoiding weight gain, but so do underweight horses.
What you feed your horse, might not be right for someone else. Your horse, your pasture, your management system, the feed available in your area – all are variables. Every horse must be fed as an individual, and blanket statements like “Miniature Horses can’t eat grass” “Miniature Horses can only have a handful of hay” “Miniature Horses have to be on a diet all the time or they founder” can be as harmful as saying “Miniature Horses can be on pasture 24/7, they’ll be fine” – none of those statements are true for every horse.
Here’s my video on feeding – you’ll notice I say very little about what to feed a horse, but instead focus on how to body condition score your horse, and monitor their condition to allow you to make the adjustments that YOUR HORSE needs.
And the other thing that I wish every Miniature Horse owner knew is that young growing horses need a LOT of nutrition. Please don’t restrict their food because of some well meaning but uninformed keyboard warrior who tells you they’re going to founder because their middle aged gelding did once.
Feed the horse you have, and make adjustments based on what their body condition tells you, not some stranger who’s never seen your horse.