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Teaching Minis to Jump: Building Communication and Trust for Success

Teaching Minis to Jump:

Establishing Manners and Communication

Miniature horses are adorable little creatures that are known for their compact size and cute looks. However, many people mistakenly believe that these horses cannot jump.

Despite their size, mini horses can actually jump, albeit at lower heights than their bigger counterparts. In this article, we will take a closer look at how to teach Minis to jump.

Establishing Manners and Communication

Before you start teaching your Mini to jump, you need to establish some basic manners and communication. Your horse should respect you and respond to your cues.

One of the most important aspects of building a good relationship with your mini is to understand their body language and communicate with them through your own body language. When it comes to handling miniature horses, you need to be gentle and patient with them.

Minis are sensitive animals that respond well to positive reinforcement. Therefore, their training should be based on reward and motivation, rather than punishment.

Establishing voice commands is another important aspect of communication with your Mini. Simple commands like walk, trot, and whoa should be ingrained in your horse’s mind, so that they can respond quickly and confidently.

Introducing Jumps

Once you have established good manners and communication with your Mini horse, you can begin with introducing jumps. The first step is to let your horse get comfortable with the concept of jumping by free-jumping.

Free jumping involves leading your horse into a small enclosure with a single jump obstacle and letting them learn how to navigate it on their own. Ground poles are another great way to introduce your horse to the idea of jumping.

Initially, start with a single ground pole, then gradually increase the distance between poles and combine more together. This helps your horse to develop a sense of rhythm and cadence.

Moving Up

As your Mini becomes more comfortable with the idea of jumping, you can move on to progressively higher obstacles. The key to success is incremental training to make sure your horse is comfortable with each stage before progressing.

Start with small cross-rails, and gradually move up to vertical jumps. Once your horse is comfortable with vertical jumps, you can start introducing wider fences.

It’s important to remember that you should always match the height of the jump to the height of your horse, so as not to put them in danger of injury. Also, don’t rush or force your horse to jump a fence that they are not ready for.

Additional Activities

There are also many other activities that you can engage in to develop your horse’s skill set. Showmanship prepares a horse for the show ring, and helps build their confidence and self-esteem.

Working through obstacle courses, from simple to complex tasks in hand, is another great way to boost your horse’s problem-solving skills and confidence. Costume and driving classes are also good options for your Mini, as they develop other skills that are beneficial to performing in many types of equine events.

Miniatures can also be trained to pull carts or carriages to be ridden or driven around.

Training Philosophy

Teaching your Mini horse to jump is not just about the techniques you use, but it’s also about your overall training philosophy. Here are some training tips to help you succeed.

Short and Sweet Training Sessions

Mini horses have a shorter attention span than larger horses, and their bodies can tire more quickly, so your training sessions should not run too long. A typical training session should last no more than 15 minutes.

During the training session, aim to keep a steady energy, while still being attentive to your Minis reactions.

Starting Low and Starting Slow

Remember that your Mini is more like a little kid than a fully-grown horse, so its important to set achievable goals. Always start with low jumps and slow progressions.

Gradually increase the height of the jumps and level of difficulty in increments to keep the training enjoyable for your mini horse.

Establishing a Relationship with the Horse

Building a strong and trusting relationship with your Miniature horse is essential to teaching them to jump. The relationship is built upon communication, respect, and mutual understanding.

You need to learn how to read your horse and understand their body language in order to build that level of trust. Polished Hunter/Jumper Takes Time

The key to achieving a polished hunter or jumper is patience and practice.

It takes time and discipline to develop the required skills, so don’t be discouraged if your Mini horse does not seem to be getting it right away. Keep practicing and take your time.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!


In conclusion, teaching Minis to jump involves a lot more than just standing in front of a jump and leading your horse over it. It involves building communication and trust with your horse, developing their skills, and practicing patience.

With the right training philosophy, incremental training, and gradual increase in difficulty, your Mini can become a confident and successful jumper. So grab your jumping equipment and get started today!

Benefits of Owning Minis: Multiple Activities in One Horse

Miniature horses are popular not only because they are cute and adorable, but also because they can offer multiple activities in one horse.

If you are looking for a versatile horse that can excel in many different disciplines, then a Mini might be the perfect choice for you. Multiple Competitions: Since Miniature horses are small and agile, they can compete in many different types of competitions.

They can be used for driving, jumping, dressage, trail, and obstacle courses. Minis are also popular in parades, where they are a common sight representing different organizations.

They definitely have an “it” factor when it comes to being out and about, showing off some of their moves. Driving: Minis are also often used for driving.

Miniature horses are small and light enough to be easily driven by a cart or carriage, making them a perfect match for the sport. Many Minis also participate in shows for drivers and carriage riders, showcasing their grace, movement, and style.

Great Companions: Willingness to Perform

Another great benefit of owning a Mini is their willingness to perform. These horses are known for their friendliness, good nature, and eagerness to please.

They thrive on human interaction and love to be around people. Miniature horses are great companions and are often used in animal-assisted therapy programs.

Therapy: Therapy with horses can be greatly beneficial to children and adults alike, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and emotional turmoil. Miniature horses are well-suited for this role as they are small and non-intimidating, making them perfect for those who may be nervous or fearful around larger horses.

They are social animals that love to interact with people and are gentle and calm. Non-competitive Activities: Visiting Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes

In addition to competitive events, Minis are also often used for non-competitive activities.

They can be used for visiting schools, hospitals and nursing homes, where their small size and calm nature make them ideal visitors. Miniature horses can bring joy and comfort to people of all ages, no matter where they are.

Miniature Horse Characteristics and Associations: Traits of Miniature Horses

Miniature horses are intelligent, athletic, and eager to please. They are well known for their calm, docile personalities, which makes them a great choice for younger children, first-time horse owners, and those looking for a gentle horse.

They are also very trainable, quick learners, and have a great memory. They are an excellent companion for a variety of activities.

American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA)


American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) is a national association that is dedicated to the promotion, breeding, and showing of Miniature horses. The association was founded in 1978 and has since grown to be one of the largest equine organizations in the United States.

The AMHA holds competitions and events for Minis across the country, including hunter and jumper competitions, halter classes, and more. The AMHA also has a comprehensive rulebook that covers everything from breeding, registration, showing, and competition.

The rulebook ensures that competitions are fair and that all horses are treated equally, with rules and regulations that are enforceable and aligned with the general welfare of the horses.

American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR)


American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) is another national association that is dedicated to promoting and improving the quality of Miniature horses. The AMHR is recognized by the Shetland Pony Club as the official registry for Miniature horses and ponies.

The association has a long history of promoting the breed, supporting breeders, and encouraging competition. They hold competitions for Minis and ponies across the country, including driving, jumping, obstacle courses, halter classes, and more.


Miniature horses offer a lot of benefits to horse owners, including versatility in different activities, companionship, and their calm and trainable nature. The American Miniature Horse Association and American Miniature Horse Registry provide support and guidance for those interested in showing or breeding Minis, ensuring that the breed continues to grow and thrive for years to come.

In this article, we’ve explored the benefits of owning Miniature horses, including the variety of activities that they offer, their companionable nature, and their utility in therapy and visitation work. Additionally, we’ve covered the traits that make Miniatures so special, the roles of the American Miniature Horse Association and American Miniature Horse Registry, and how these organizations support and promote the breed.

Key takeaways include the need for patience in training, an appreciation for the breed’s unique characteristics, the importance of establishing good communication and trust with your horse, and the value of having the support of established and respected organizations.

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