I have a coming 27 year old mini who has been a companion to a TON of weanling and yearlings as well as my two full size geldings over the years. He gets along great with pretty much anyone and they him. But I do keep an eye to make sure that Jack isn't getting picked on overly much. In fact I had to separate him and Remy for a few years because they played too hard and he was going to end up hurt.
If your mare is good with other horses and the mini is pretty sociable then they'll probably do fine. I'd do the normal keep them over the fence for a fews days and then supervised turnout together and see how that goes.
Also - double and triple check your fences. Those little devils can get out of places you couldn't possibly imagine. We had hot wire run literally 12" off the ground to keep Jack from going under the fence. Booger.
You will hear many people on here who think it's perfectly fine, but ultimately it's obviously up to you. I would never personally. I have 6 minis. Even if my 21 yr. old slow poke didn't hate minis (he absolutely has ALWAYS despised mini horses for some reason- all of them) I still couldn't because he still likes to play. A little half buck that his bigger buddy could have taken could kill a mini. He likes to hop up off the ground with his front legs- not a rear, just a little playful thing and a mini would easily fit under them. One thing I've noticed about all of my minis is that they don't act like they know they're miniature horses! They seem to think they will have no problems fighting the big guys. I have a few that try to take on the big horses at the fence- rearing, kicking, etc. They would be stomped in a heartbeat in a fight. My vet did it until he personally witnessed one of his prized little minis killed in front of his eyes just while playing with a big horse. Can two big horses kill each other? Sure, but with a mini and a 17hh the size difference is HUGE.
As with anything, it depends. My mini is turned out with a small pony and my coming 3 year old about the size of a large pony. I also had him out with my 15.2 TB gelding. He plays with the 17.2 hand gelding across the fence.
My mare is not particularly playful, but it does seem a bit risky....not sure I want to do it. Then there is the feeding issue and keeping her on a diet so she won't balloon up in size...But big mare needs a compaion. Mmmmm.. think I have decided not to.
I'm in the not mixing minis and big horses camp. There is just too much that can happen. Even if the big horse loves the mini. One off kick while playing could easily be deadly for a mini since their heads are about kick level. And as already pointed out, a lot of minis think the are big horses and either try playing with or picking on the big horses.
I agree that there is a possibility for injury for the both mini or regular sized horse, but that is the case with all horses, even if they are out by themselves. I had a mare that broke her leg and she was out with another mare, never figured out what happened exactly.
I recently bought a mini donkey (8 months old and weighs maybe 200lbs) for a companion for my 19 year old 17hh horse. At first he didn't like the donkey, but then they became inseperable. I introduced my new horse, who is also 17hh to the equation and they are like the 3 amigos now. Of course had to assimulate them like with any herd animals, but now best of buddies. Of course the mini is the "low man" on the totem pole but he holds his own out there and don't feel like he gets picked on no more than a regular sized horse would if they were low on the pecking order. He has only has 1 "injury" if you can even call it that, since we have had him 6 months, a scrape on his left front leg just above his hoof about 2 inches long, just missing hair, thats it. Otherwise, great. he does get a little chunky because he eats whatever grain the horses drop (he is a quick little bugger).
I agree that there is always a chance for injury whether it is big horses with big horses, minis with minis, or just one their own. But I believe there is more of a chance of a mini being FATALLY injured turned out with big horses, by nothing more than a playful kick or even a kick at an insect. Minis heads are at the perfect height to be hit in the head by a wayward kick. I know there are plenty of minis and big horses together where there has never been and incident and probably never will be. But I am not taking a chance with my minis.
...then one thinks that goats and horses get along fine as companions.
My mare is pretty tolerant since she's raised her baby brother with minimal authority required. Still, not sure I want the management complications re feed since they have to be together most of the time.
A happy place filled with pony and puppy kisses :)
I was offered a mini and brought her home a few weeks ago. I have not turned my 15.1 hh gelding out with her yet. The roatate between the round pen and attached pasture, are able to touch and smell through the fence and are already attached to each other.
I dont think ther would be issues with them going out together, the issue for me is that my husband is not esperianced enough to get one of them out of the pasture without having the other escape.
I think if you can gradually introduce the two, it should be ok.
It only works if you put the work into it- and if the personalities are compatible. They can't just be thrown out with the big horses without attention to their diet and well being. Many are just like ponies - can't be on grass, can't have grain - etc.
I have a mini and will turn her out with two bigger horses. I have never seen her try to start something with the two larger horses. My 10yo will play with her, which consists of running a little bit, and then pausing to watch the mini run the rest of the way, or running around like an idiot out of the mini's way. When I turn her out I leave her paddock open so she can go inside, but the other two mares can't follow her. You could do something like this as well so a mini has boards it can walk under for a big horse break if needed.
This winter I turned the mini out at breakfast with the two girls and she'd help them clean up their food. She didn't get fat.
Teeth- My vet has sort of a hard time doing my mini's teeth, but can get it done. He doesn't have a clinic and just does farm calls, though. If your vet is set up differently it might be easier.
I wouldn't rule a mini out just yet. I would look at your mare's personality, and the potential small equine's personality, and make sure you get a pair where there will be no questioning of who is in charge.
My OTTB had a really tough time adjusting to being turned out for more than 30 minutes at a time...until we turned him out with a mini that boarded at the barn. Apparently, mini has a thing for TBs.
We introduced them VERY carefully. And now they are fab friends. The minis are def escape artists though. Turned out my guy into the smaller convalescent pen when he looked a little off....30 minutes later, mini was also in pen.
My guy can be "spicy" with other horses- his social skills aren't the best. But he looooves his mini, and is incredibly gentle.
Do muzzles come mini-sized? That would solve one problem. My she's a little thing - her fly mask is teeeeeeny and she is all forelock. Cute though. I may bring her home for trial. Some flip-flopping going on here. My feed bill would certainly go down!
There's minis and minis... Mine is 37" tall and is fine turned out with the big guys--he's a lot faster than they are, and it means everyone gets some exercise.
However, he's in his own enclosure at night (Pony Alcatraz) so they all get a break from each other and he doesn't steal their dinner. Or spend 24 hours a day with his jaws moving and his gut expanding exponentially.
Feet, teeth, vet stuff will all cost you the same for a mini as for a full sized horse, BTW.
I have a 9-hand mini mule that is a companion to my retired 17 hand gelding. I kept them separated at first so they could meet and get used to one another, then let them be together supervised for awhile, and now they have been pretty much inseparable for 2 years or so. No incidents -- she's tough and smart so she can get out of his way. Sometimes she will be in the stall (they have access to stall and run at all times), and he'll come in, and it is kind of like this Laurel and Hardy thing as she maneuvers around to get out the stall without being trapped.
For the food issue, I have a muzzle (they do come in mini size), but she hated it and I felt bad, so mostly we feed the big horse in the corner of his stall where he can "protect" it and she gets her bit outside and it works out fine. Or I have a manger in one area that is mounted high enough he can eat comfortably but she cannot reach much of it. She does steal his grain pan (which is hilarious to watch), but only manages to get it away when he is pretty much done, so her "prize" is licking the pan ... not much calories in that!
One good thing with minis, besides not eating as much as big horses, they don't create as much manure, and don't tear up the pastures as much as big ones. They do cost the same for farrier, dental, vet (why people think that trimming a minis feet should cost less than a horse, I don't get -- have you ever seen the poor guy on his knees trying to trim them? they should charge MORE!).
No matter what companion you get, whether a mini or pony or goat or whatever, it will be up to them to get along. I got lucky and my two like each other, but I'm not sure my other horses would be as keen to share with her as my big guy is. He's kind of a "whatever" guy!
We would do our own trimming, but the teeth part might get interesting, needing teeny little tools. Teeth would be taken care of as a priority, because I think she's a bit crooked in there...lots are. My vet will look at me in despair.
I can see us building a sort of table for her to stand on for her feet trimming, like milking goats, or poor hubby will be on his hands and knees!
How many wormings can you get out of one tube???
Fortunately, since we got greyhounds, our whole place is fenced really, really well.
I'm beginning to feel encouraged....I've been in horses all my life, but this is new.