Miniature Horse Farrier
In 2008, we had 6 babies. That was by far the most babies we had ever had. Baby miniatures need their feet trimmed and balanced much more often than the mature Miniature horse. It was time for my family to start trimming the feet of our miniatures. I have been around big horses my whole life and know a balanced foot so learning was not that difficult for us.
My background was big horses...and with big horses, one NEVER TROTS ON HARD SURFACES, much less on pavement. This was drilled into my head first by my big sister and then by the rest of the horse world as I kept riding. Thus, when we began driving minis, the idea of trotting a mini on pavement horrified me. I looked into boots and even bought a pair of those velcro-on boots in the mini catalogs. They stayed on all of 5 minutes. My idea for protection was failing me. I started asking experienced drivers if driving on pavement was acceptable for minis. This is what I learned. As long as I gradually worked our miniatures on pavement, their tendons would adapt to the surfaces and it would not harm them. One long time mini driver had this to say:
"Because of where I have boarded my horses over the years having streets we drove on, the parades we are in and the parties and carnivals where we give cart rides, I would say that 80% of my horses' lives, all of them, have been driving on pavement. I have horses that have been driven on pavement for over 25 years and we have never had lameness from it. They are miniatures, they are barefoot, etc. I do not believe in shoes on miniatures, my farriers don't believe in it, and I was glad when the horse show rule was actually no shoes and no nail holes.
The only horse that I own that has been lame was due to an abscess and it had nothing to due with being driven on pavement. I know because I know his history.
We have started the babies on pavement, and any other kind of surface when they are old enough that they keep up with their moms. Then we start ponying them, mom and baby, as we drive.
I did have one mare whose feet would chip, but the farriers told me her feet were that way just because, and they were not damaged by driving on pavement, so yes, we drove her in parades also.
So any of you worried about driving a miniature on pavement...don'
Carlynne also shared with me that her parade group, the Miniature Horse Cavalcade, has been parading in the San Diego area for over 25 years. They are on pavement too.
We have been driving our Miniatures about 8 years and mix up our work, but some invariably is on pavement. We have yet to have one go lame. Some of our driving minis are older (14 years) and some are younger (2.5 years). We don't have the test of time as the lady quoted above, but I am believing her advice which mirrored what I heard from some of the members of the Mini Mystique Drill Team. Our area is part pavement and part packed dirt. Click here to see my favorite mare trotting on pavement back when she first started driving.