This is Willow's start of a new life. A horse transformation story and training a miniature horse. #miniaturehorse #horselife #horsetraining

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I’ve decided to start writing my personal horse transformation stories in order to help others on their journeys with horses they have training goals for. I know I love to be inspired by a horse story! I often get ideas to use with my training methods by reading other horse transformation stories. With the different individual personalities of horses, it’s important that we never stop learning. One little thing can make all the difference to a horse in its training.  I am not a professional trainer in any way. Just a horse girl that wants the best life for her horses possible.


This Horse transformation story is about Willow.  Willow a 12-year-old miniature horse mare that I acquired in March of 2019. It is now the end of April 2019 and she’s been here well over a month. Plenty of time to get settled in her new home. I brought her here for a few reasons. She’s bigger than my other miniature horses and I’m needing extra horsepower for some farming with horses ideals I’ve got! Mostly due to this article Haying with Mini Horses. So I want to train her to drive. Then I want to team her with my stocky stallion Comanche.

I was given Comanche back in September and I also want to breed her to him. For more bigger stocky miniature horses! Which I’ve had the hardest time finding around here! Tiny Stormy can pull a cart but he’s too small and fine boned to be expected to pull a garden cultivator! I need more horsepower for those jobs. Judging from the looseness of her udder she has had foals before. So I have my reasons for bringing her in! If you need a reason to buy a miniature horse you can check this out Miniature Horses! 5 Reasons to have them!

Willow’s Temperament

Ever bring in a horse and right away it just fit in like magic? Yeah, hardly ever! It was different with Willow though. There were no scuffles or drama with my other horses or my donkeys! She hasn’t tried testing me either. So far! She’s always willing to be haltered. Nice and calm. No spooky acts. Nothing.

Willow's Transformation story

So she gets along with everyone and doesn’t cause me any problems. She has excellent manners with leading and her feet. Grooming all over is never a problem either. She’s a very desensitized laid back kind miniature horse. So all that is good. But can she transform into a well-adjusted driving horse too?

Training the Miniature Horse

I have to start at the beginning with Willow. Though she is super friendly and has been handled a lot in her life. She doesn’t seem to have had any ‘formal’ training for lack of a better word! She doesn’t seem to know any groundwork at all. So I’ll be starting her off on my ground work training plan. Which is a combination of exercises from Clinton Anderson’s fundamentals and Mustang Maddy’s Liberty start! I know they are 2 completely different trainers with totally different approaches! Oddly enough though the combination seems to work very well for the miniature horses I’ve used it on!

I will be using this DIY horse round pen we threw together especially for my miniature horses too DIY Horse Project: Miniature Horse Round Pen Works perfect and cost us less than $100 using dog lots we bought from craigslist!

Once my ground work training is in place. Then I can move onto training her to drive.

Oh, one more problem we have. She’s very overweight. So we are hiking which is also turning into training sessions too! Good for her and me! You can read more about that here if you like A Simple Equestrian Workout with Your Horse!

The Easy Keeper that’s not so Easy!

Ever had one of these??? An easy keeper that wasn’t easy! I have many easy keepers. All but my miniature gelding, Stormy and my jack donkey, Jeb are easy keepers. Even my riding pony, Bianca is also easy keepers.

I have very unimproved pastures that my miniature horses, pony, and donkeys graze. This typically allows them to graze for about 8 hours a day. Then I bring them in to feed mixed grass hay. This allows them to graze but not gain weight.

This is not working for Willow! I’ve got to come up with another way to manage her and honestly I’m at a loss here. Grazing muzzles never seem to work. I hate keeping her alone while they go out. I have started stalling her separate for hay time or she will pig out on more than her share!

Before training or anything else, I have to get Willows weight down! The hiking will help with that too.

horse transformation story

It’s so important for her future roles here and most importantly her health and well being! On top of that, she’s not shedding her coat for summer. Major red flag! So I will be starting her on some metabolic support herbs for horses as well as some kelp.

If you also have easy keepers, here is a really nice recipe for low starch horse treats. I’ve made it several times. I like to use horse treats as part of positive reinforcement training. Especially trick training! Low starch horse treat recipe

The Plan for Willow

  1. Get her weight down with hiking and feeding control
  2. Start her on some support herbs for horses
  3. Start my groundwork and liberty restart program!
  4. Ease into the driving training course by Miniature Horsemanship Online Classes
  5. Eventually, team her with Comanche for a supermini farm team!

Normally I would write this down in my training journal. Lately, I’m feeling the need to write more in depth about how I’m caring for individual horses and sharing what I’ve been successful doing with them. Or what has been unsuccessful!

These goals will take a lot of time. But when you love being with horses it’s just how you spend your time right?

Horse story

Enjoying the Process of Training Horses

Horses are such individuals! This was a really important thing I learned from the Mustang Maddy case studies. Sometimes its more than the horses just needs more time. Sometimes its the horse needs a totally different approach!

I’ll post updates on this Horse Story about Willow. How her weight loss is going and how her training is going.

Miniature horses can be of great use on the farm and a great source of enjoyment. But they need to be healthy and trained. They also need to like their jobs, much like we do! So it’s important that is watch closely for how she responds to training. What does she love? What does she hate? Are we going to fast or to slow?

Every horse is an individual. It’s up to us to train them that way and take our time to really see what the potential is within each horse.