Good news, Laurenthe possibilities are endless! There are so many fun cues to teach a mini. You can teach him to lay down on cue, whinny or even retrieve an item for you. Teaching horses to count by clopping their hoofs is another fun and easy trick. Kids are always thrilled with a horse who can add and subtract.
First, teach your horse that a particular sound or word means that food is about to come. I like to use a short whistle sound (I call it a “tweet”) that I can make with my mouth. Make the sound, then give him a small tasty treat. Once he is anticipating a treat when he hears the sound, he is ready to learn! To begin, I suggest training near his normal supper time, a time when he is likely to clop his hoof in anticipation of food. Stand by his right shoulder and lean forwardwait until he clops his hoof, and when he does, stand straight up immediately, give your food sound cue and then a treat. Soon he will learn that if he clops his hoof when you lean forward, he will get a treat. Slowly increase the number of clopssometimes waiting for two, sometimes four, and so on. When he consistently starts when you lean forward, and stops when you stand tall, you are ready! You can amaze folks by asking your horse to complete a math problem, such as “What is three plus two?” while standing by his right side. You will “naturally” lean forward to watch him clopand when he gets to 5, you stand up! Neat, huh?
On a side note: Please do use caution if you plan to have children ride your mini when he gets older, as many minis simply were not bred to handle the weight of a rider, even a small one. Thanks, Lauren!