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Mini Horse Question - Stifle issue

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  • Mini Horse Question - Stifle issue

    I just "acquired" a mini as a companion to my horse. It's an ideal situation since the mini is in a much larger turn-out than what he had previously. This mini has a problem with his stifle... it locks up. He is able to walk out of it but he'll pop it up sometimes (not all the time) when he walks. I would say he probably does this about 15% of the time. I just got him 2 weeks ago and its been kind of a trial basis. I can say its working out fine but I know nothing about these little guys. I've had full size horses my entire life but haven't come across this issue. I understand how to feed, etc. The lady I got him from bred/raised him and said this is common in smaller ponies/minis. Any thoughts on this? He's only a companion (no cart pulling, etc) and he may get hand walked down the trail every now and then.
    "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."

  • #2
    What works well for big horse stifles- Fitness and movement- hill work, cavaletti, backing up. I've used these and they do work.
    Good Luck
    "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


    • #3
      I think minis are prone to stifle issues because farriers pull their back legs out so high/far to trim them that they get injured.


      • #4
        I had one that was very thin when we got him as a 3 year old. His stifles would lock when he was standing around too long, when it got cold or a combo of both. Movement is the best thing, walking and trotting him up and down hills helped a lot. When it locked, we would back him up to unlock it. The stifles got better as he got healthier but they would still stick. I could feel the "click" when I would lift his foot to trim him. I never lifted his leg high to trim him and usually sat on a small bucket at his level.


        • #5
          I do not think it is common in them. We have 5 here and none have that issue. Our neighbors have 4 and none have that issues. We've also bred a bunch and have never seen that occur.


          • #6
            Originally posted by RockingN View Post
            I do not think it is common in them. We have 5 here and none have that issue. Our neighbors have 4 and none have that issues. We've also bred a bunch and have never seen that occur.
            agree not common in a small pony

            be small or large th pony should be trimed in exactly the same manner and treated with respect

            in fact small ponies are often easier as not to far to lift - and lighter to hold maybe

            i have had small ponies all my life - all native of course or x bred and none have stiffle issues

            but as small ponis can and often eat what horses do not eat as they cannot reach or get at like under a fencline round the hedge or under the bush or round a tree or post and they can eat anything going as tend to do wel and easy keepers are used to rough terrian and survive very well

            might be that the pony if fat and cresty neck as ponies are prone to lamnitus more easily than horses are due the facts above

            get your farrier out and have a gander at him and his feet


            • Original Poster

              Well, whether it's common or not, it's common for this little mini! Either way, I was reading up last night and I concur with the Marla to provide exercise. He's in a much larger turnout than where he came from so I know that's helping. I will throw some ground poles in his paddock where he "has" to walk over them and have a small hill by my house that I will take him for a walk on a few days a week. BTW, he is not a fat, cresty neck pony although I do admit I was surprised with how "little" they eat! He's a companion to my 17H giant who eats 4-5 flakes of hay a day! Only giving him a little handful of hay and a few cups of hay pellets was strange at first! I am very cognizant of how little to feed and my rule of thumb is not to fill the hay over the gallon bucket that I use to feed him (grass hay, of course). Thanks you all who commented.
              "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."


              • #8
                My mini mare did it. .. they'd get locked and I'd have to back her up to unlock them. My farrier got on the ground to trim her, on his knees, he was very very mindful of her small statue. . . vets all said it was hereditary. . . and I was advised never to breed her (wouldn't have done that anyway). I was careful to never let her get fat, and she was beautifully built. I was led to believe it was fairly common among minis when she spent a week at mississippi state vet school when she jammed something into her gums and got an abscess and she stayed with them so they could get what she needed done with minimal drama because miss queen bee objected most strenuously to the twice daily care needed. They had a ball with her. And yeah, qhfan2, they eat such a small amount, once when she was boarded I noticed she was getting fat and showed up at feeding time to see her with a feeder full of sweet feed instead of the one CUP of feed she was supposed to get. .. turned out the guy felt 'sorry' for her getting so little and decided she should get the same amount as the big horses o.O. . no wonder she turned into a snotty little fat witch! I brought that to a screeching halt believe me. . . .here's a pic of my mini. . now on free lease with a friend
                forever who spoils her outrageously.



                • #9
                  also Check the feet

                  Many trimmers/farriers do not properly balance the feet on minis and leave WAYYY too much heel and the mini ends up having contracted coke bottle feet, the same basic principles apply to little feet as to big feet. This can also affect their body higher up. It's amazing the athletic changes that can happen when the feet are corrected.
                  "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


                  • #10
                    Absolutely, exercise is the best thing! And yes, it is common in minis! I have minis also, though none of mine have that problem. There is also a surgery for it. Best place to get info is at www.miniaturehorsetalk.com. Very friendly and very knowledge mini people there.