What can I do with my miniature horse or Shetland?

What can I do with my miniature horse or Shetland?

Many people have a mini horse or Shetland animal as a companion animal for their large horse or pony. You also see a lot of two Shetland ponies or mini horses as a lawn mower in the meadow near home. Unfortunately, many miniature horses and Shetland ponies are therefore too fat because they do little to nothing but “mow the lawn” and keep company. But what exactly can you do with such a small horse?

Riding under the saddle

The larger miniature horses and Shetland ponies are ideal for carrying a small child on their back. There is an extensive range of small saddles, saddle pads, bits and bridles to complete the harness. Many small saddles are equipped with various extra aids so that the little rider can hold on tight.

There are special little stirrups for children, small reins and other fun aids to master pony riding in a playful way. The maxim for the load on a horse or pony is 12-20% of its own weight, provided the horse is in good condition.

Long lines work

Another fun activity with your mini horse or Shetlander is working on the long lines. As mentioned before, there is a wide range of bridles for your mini horse or Shetland horse. Bitless bridles, bridles with bit and in all shapes, sizes and colors.

You can attach the reins, the long lines, to the bridle as usual. Some people choose to use a lunging girth with rings or a mentor wither to help guide the long lines along your fringe. Working on the long lines can be done both dressage and recreation, for example by taking nice walks.

Dressage-wise you can train a horse in its muscles, work on its condition and train nice and loose in its body. It is also a great way to bond with your horse. Your miniature horse or Shetlander will learn to recognize your voice and obey the voice commands. Long lines of work is also a good preparation for training for the car.

Tensioned driving in front of the car

The harnessed driving for the car with your Shetlander or mini horse is of course a lot of fun. It is less stressful for them than riding under the saddle, because with harnessed riding, a horse does not lift a rider or car, but only pulls it forward.

But what can a miniature horse or Shetlander actually pull? The rule for this is, if in good condition, 3x its own weight on the paved road, 2x its own weight on hard hit sand / grass and 1x its own weight in loose sand or a roadway. This is then the weight of the car and driver together.

For harnessed riding, a wide range is available especially for mini horses, Shetland ponies and small ponies. Beautiful, complete leather and plastic mentors. Beautiful tack coasters in all shapes, colors and sizes. Different types of bits and driving bits.

For the tense driving you can choose a two-wheeled car, also called sulky, or a four-wheeled car. Keep an eye on the weight with the maxim what your miniature horse or Shetland horse could pull.

Freedom dressage

An increasing phenomenon is surely the freedom dressage with ponies and horses. In recent years you see it increasingly passing by, but what exactly is it?

Actually, the word says it all; dressage exercises in freedom. Or as many would call it convenience: tricks on command. Perhaps described too simply because it goes much further than that.

Freedom dressage is originally from the circus, where horses showed different kinds of arts to the public. Many of these exercises are actually all the natural behaviors of the horse, but on command. This includes fleming on command, yawning, giving a kiss, but also having it pranced or lying down.

Any miniature horse or Shetlander, young or old can learn freedom dressage. You can reward your miniature horse or Shetlander for doing well by feeding a kibble. Some people prefer a clicker as a reward, in order to avoid bawdy behavior.

Freedom dressage does not have to be very stressful. Therefore, it is also ideal as entertainment for horses recovering from an injury. Freedom dressage is also a great way to bond with your horse or pony.


For mini horses, Shetland ponies and small ponies, there are several shows every year that you can participate in. Some shows are only for mini horses or ponies from a specific studbook, but others are open for all breeds.

You can register for this kind of shows with your miniature horse or Shetlander for different parts and classes. This includes jumping on the hand, obstacle course, freedom classes, inspection classes, dumbbell classes, performance classes and much more. Jumping on the hand is also a fun activity to work on the condition of your miniature horse or Shetland and can also be easily practiced at home.

There are also plenty of classes that are great fun for the smallest, for example the theater class. The theater class is a very fun, creative class, where everyone enters the ring dressed up in a certain theme with their horse or pony. The most original creations are featured here. Very fun to do, but also to watch!

The inspection classes are the ideal opportunity to practice for an official inspection. It is exactly the same as on a real test, only to practice.


If your miniature horse or Shetland horse has good studbook papers, you can choose to go to the show with him or her. It is important that you go to the inspection of the studbook where your miniature horse or Shetlander is registered. During such an examination, they are inspected and checked veterinary. If everything is approved and they pass the selection, they can enter the ring for priming.

Each studbook has its own rules, requirements and conditions. Read it carefully before you register to avoid disappointments. Inspections are a great opportunity to measure your miniature horse or Shetland horse against others. In this way you can also see whether your mini horse or Shetland horse would be suitable for breeding, for example.

Cycling, walking or running

What is of course very easy to do is running, cycling or walking with your mini horse or Shetland horse. Just like any other horse, the little ones also love to walk / run through the forest, over the heath or on the beach. This is good for their development (they see more of the world) but also good for their fitness thanks to the movement.

The same goes for bicycles. Cycling is very good for the condition and development (safe in the traffic). In addition, it is also just a lot of fun to do. Keep to the traffic rules and pay attention to busy traffic situations if you do not know how your horse reacts to this.

In addition, like riders under saddle, you are required to follow the riding trails and rules of the area where you are. Even if you are not on your horse, you should stay on the bridle path with your miniature horse or Shetland horse.

Hug and therapy purposes

Nowadays you see it more often that miniature horses and Shetland are used on a therapeutic basis. Please note that not every miniature horse or Shetlander is suitable for this.

A sweet, calm and gentle character is very important. In addition, your shetlander or miniature horse must be able to handle (many) people or people who can react a little differently (for example with a disability) and want to stroke and touch them. Miniature horses and Shetland horses that are suitable for this, and let this come down to them obediently, are a lottery ticket for many. They bring a smile to many faces.

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This text was translated by Google.

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