Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Therapy Horse

Hello, I'm currently looking to purchase a miniature horse and would like to use her as a therapy horse, working specifically with children. We live in Tennessee and traveling to one of your training facilities or hosting my own would be financially impossible.

Since this is a miniature, many tasks will not be necessary (carrying a rider type commands and activities). Is there a book or evaluation I could proceed with that would allow my little one to work with children in my area?

My thought was to get a weanling so there are no previously learned behavior problems I'd have to deal with.

I have a therapy dog and we have a great time with our volunteer work. Can you help me understand what is necessary to have a therapy horse -- a miniature horse?

Thanks so much -

Sandra J.


No matter the size or breed, a horse is still a horse and the same language and training principles and techniques apply. If this were a full size horse you might have considered a mature, people friendly, been there done that, experienced horse for your therapy horse. A weanling is extremely young and will not be trustworthy with children for quite a while. It can still walk over the child, drag it around, nip, kick or any behaviors an untrained, young, full sized horse might exhibit. Additionally, it can be easily frightened by quick movement, inappropriate movement, loud noises, outbursts such as a child or autistic individual can make, on and on.

If this were a full sized horse, it would not be fully mature in its mind and until it was about 5-6 years old. It is the same for a mini. Also, humans tend to treat very small horses like puppies. This is inappropriate and dangerous, as they grow fast and if allowed to exhibit behavior as a puppy does (coming onto the lap for instance or standing on its hind legs and being hugged), it won't take long before that animal is big enough that the behavior becomes dangerous for a child or an adult.

If you get a mature 6 year old, well trained mini, with no bad habits, I think that would be a smarter choice and a lot safer. Additionally, you could begin to use the horse for your intended purpose much faster rather than waiting for this horse to grow up. If the breeder is reputable, honest and sincere and you thoroughly explain the purpose you want to use the horse for, they should be able to provide the proper horse. Bring a child or two along and see how the horse gets along with the children. The horse should exhibit calm demeanor, friendly but not pushy, respectful of personal space, be responsive yet not spooky and comply easily with requests for movement. Also it should not be nippy, or show fearful responses like turning its butt towards a human.

Don't get a baby. Get a mature, well-trained, seasoned mini. You will be happy you did. Keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

Wow, thanks so much! I got more out of your note than I got from the last book I read on the minis. Thanks!! I will follow your suggestions completely.


Look for: