Adopting a Miniature Horse; Adopt a miniature Donkey; adopt a Burro Program



Most animal lovers will agree that baby animals are cute. A few more dedicated animal lovers will agree that some baby animals are adorable. I have to concede that of all baby animals, the very cutest are the miniature horses and miniature donkeys. So, how would you go about adopting a miniature horse?

Miniature Horse with long mane       Pixabay Sharon P.

Miniature Horses

are not to be kept indoors like your dog that sleeps at your feet and your cat that sleeps on your pillow. Horses are Equines and are happy to be out of doors with nature. They do appreciate a barn or lean-to to get in out of rain or snow.

We will concentrate on miniature Horses first. These little horses have been around for a long time.

History, Breeding and Size

Miniature horses were developed in Europe in the 1600s. By 1765 they were frequently found to be pets of nobility.

In England, Shetland Ponies and Miniature horses were used in the coal mines. They were brought to America and were used in the coal mines until the mid 1900s.

The life span of miniature horses runs from 25 to 35 years. These little horses are defined by their height. They must be between 34 and 38 inches tall at the withers (the ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse.) They are the result of many centuries of careful breeding, both in England and in America.

In fact, they must be smaller than a full-grown pony and must maintain the physical appearance of a full sized horse. They have been bred to be friendly and interact well with people and they still retain their natural horse behavior including their “fight or flight” reaction.

There has been a lot of activity in training them to be show horses and to participate in competitive events.

Two Registries for Show and Competition

There are two registries in the United States for miniature horses: the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) and the American Miniature Horse Registry(AMHR).

The AMHA was founded in 1978 and is dedicated to establishing the miniature horse as a distinct breed of horse. The AMHR is a division of the American Shetland Pony Club established in 1972.

In the AMHR, horses cannot exceed 38 inches at the withers. There are two divisions in the AMHR.

Div. A – are horses 34inches and under

two Mini horses
Pixabay by Ron Weber

Div. B – are horses 34 inches to 38 inches

In the AHMA horses cannot exceed 34 inches.

Horses of any eye and coat color and any form of white markings are allowed in both registries. Miniatures should be exactly proportioned as a full size horse. They  are friendly, agile, hardy and not skittish, which makes them excellent candidates for shows and competitions.

Health Issues

Miniature horse in pasture
Pixabay-Mark Edwards

Some health issues are more often found in Miniatures than in their full size relatives. Overfeeding is a common problem leading to obesity. Dental problems occur due to miniatures having the same number of teeth as their larger counterparts.

The combination of overeating and too many teeth can lead to colic. They can also suffer from liver failure. Because of their small size, mares have a high incidence of difficult births. Most health problems can be corrected with proper feeding and careful maintenance.


Miniature Horses
Pixabay by Sharon P.

If you are thinking about getting a miniature Horse for a pet, be sure you have a goodly amount of money for continuing care. These little horses need the exact same care as the full size horse. You will need a vet that understands the needs of miniatures. A small pasture and a barn or some kind of shelter is necessary.

Full grown Miniatures run from $1,000 up. Less are the little colts and fillies- $500 to $1,000, unless they have royal bloodlines, then the price can go as high as $5,000.4 the Bond between Horse and Man

Information for this article came from Wikipedia.

Adopt a Miniature Donkey


Miniature donkeys are adorable animals and make exceptional pets. How many people keep Mini donkeys as pets, you ask? According to the National Miniature Donkey Association, some 3 million people in the United States have Equine animals–like the mini donkeys -and Miniature Horses-as household pets.

adult donkey and mini donkey.
Pixabay Jackie Lou DL

Just because they are considered a household pet doesn’t mean that

Miniature Donkeys can be kept inside the house. They are outside pets. They like the out of doors, the grasslands, the opportunity to graze.

Miniature Donkeys originally came from the Mediterranean area of north Africa and more recently from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Any distinction between the two island populations blurred over time and they are considered one breed called miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.

In the united States they are simply called Miniature Donkeys in North America. These little animals are very mild-mannered and are trustworthy around children, the elderly and handicapped. They can be trained to pull carts and to be ridden by small children. They become quite attached to their owners and to their fellow Donkeys.

Mini’s will measure between 32 and 34 inches tall when full-grown and will weigh 200 plus pounds. They normally live to be 25 to 35 years old. Male Donkeys are called “jacks,” female Donkeys are called “jennets,” and babies are called “foals.”

Miniature Donkeys come in a variety of colors, but they are most commonly gray and white. Most donkey breeds have been interbred and are simply categorized by size and height.

Donkey Characteristics

Donkeys like to graze in a well-kept pasture and will not go into a sheltered area unless the weather turns snowy or rainy. A miniature Donkey needs about 2 acres of land for roaming and grazing. They need around 4 hours grazing time daily in order to maintain a healthy digestion and intestinal tract.

Miniatue Donkey

They are hardy and healthy creatures. They require preventative vaccinations, and worming periodically.

They adapt to any weather conditions. Just have a rustic shelter area for them to escape to, in case of bad weather.

Miniature donkeys are easy to train. They have good personalities, and like to socialize with their owners and other donkeys.

If you decide to get a miniature Donkey, but do not have a lot of time to spend with him, consider getting two –they do much better with companionship.


To purchase a miniature donkey, expect the cost to be between $900 and $2000. You may find one through a breeder, a rescue or adoption center. Check out your adoption center very carefully.

Miniature Donkey with girl
Pixabay Jackie Lou

Be sure to find a reliable vet for reliable care. A donkey’s hooves never stop growing. They need to be trimmed about every two months.

Check out the National Miniature Donkey Association (NMDA). They sponsor shows in various states throughout the year and maintain a breeders listing by state.

Miniature Donkeys are not noisy, unless they are unhappy. If you are getting a lot of braying for no reason that you can see, your Donkey may just be lonely.5 Historical Bond between Donkey, Mule and Man.

Information from the National Miniature Donkey Association.


Adopt a Burro Program


Wild burros
Pixabay Dwight

The wild Burros found in the western United States were originally brought here in the 1500s by Spaniards. The word Burro is Spanish for donkey. They are actually, the same breed. They have the same coloring but are slightly smaller than the American Donkey. These were the pack animals that helped to build the American west. Miners during the gold rush in the 1800s used burros to pack in supplies and pack out whatever they found of value in the mines.

When the gold mines ran out the Burros were left to fight for themselves. They were hardy little animals and managed to live off the desert vegetation. They were able to find where water was and learned to dig wells in the desert.

Burros not only helped themselves to water but left the wells behind for other desert creatures.

Wild Burros average 44 inches in height and weigh up to 500 pounds when fully grown with a life span of 25 years. When left to their own devices, the female Burro will give birth to one colt a year.

Burros are of the family Equidae and the African Wild Ass and are classified as Equus asinus.. Wild Burros are not native to the west. They are all direct descendants of the gold rush years.

Oatman, AZ is barely within the state boundary. Oatman is tucked up under Nevada in that little curled up area as Nevada and Arizona meets California. I was almost there once. Oatman is a little western town of 128 people located on old highway 66, and a number of Wild Burros.  The Burros come down out of the mountains in the morning to meet the tourists and panhandle for treets.

burros, looking for food
Pixabay Lisa Johnson

Management of Wild Burros

Management of Wild Horses and Wild Burros is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. The management program of BLM consists of having roundups periodically and swooping down on Wild horses and burros with helicopters and pushing them for miles at breakneck speed.

Horses are panicked by the noise and stampede. As a consequence there are always some who are injured and must be killed. Wild Burros do not stampede; They separate and run in various directions. In which case, the helicopters will chase them until they drop in exhaustion.

This is an inhumane roundup of horses and burros from their home ranges. Horses typically run in family groups and live and graze in their home range. Wild Burros just seem to gather in groups.

What is the reason for these roundups? To make more room for livestock grazing and big game hunting. One interesting point is that burros will not eat the grass that cattle grazes on. In turn, cattle will not eat the desert plants and vegetation that the Burros will eat.

I might guess that there is more than enough grazing land in our western states for the livestock to graze on as well as the horses and burros. Today there are less than 9000 Burros remaining in the western states.

New Management System

Burros are a “protected” species as living symbols of our historic and pioneer spirit of the west. In 2018, some changes were made in the management of the wild Burros.

California Wild Burros

A non-profit organization -Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue(PVDR)- entered into a five-year agreement with the National Park Service to relocate 2500 wild Burros from Death Valley State Park and Mojave National Preserve.

According to a Park Service spokesman, “Burros are not part of the natural California Desert ecosystem. They compete for food and water with the native animals, and they are a safety hazard to visitors on the park roadways.”

“With this partnership,” he said, “We have created a win-win situation for the burros, the park and taxpayers.”

PVDR is headquarted in San Angelo, Texas, and is the largest rescue of its kind. Their mission is to provide safe and loving environments to all donkeys that have been abused, neglected, abandoned, as well as wild burros under the threat of destruction.

PVDR’s main objective is to protect the wild burros, and if necessary, capture and remove them in the least stressful way and either enter them into their nation-wide adoption system or let them live out their lives on one of their sanctuaries.

PVDR is funded by private donors, grants, and foundations.

It would seem that burros have finally found a place to call home. May they have long, happy lives.

Anyone who has an interest in adopting a wild burro should contact PVDR at one of their websites;; www.wild, or

(If you have an interest in adopting a wild Burro, contact PVDR at their website: http://www donkeyrescue. org.)

 Information for this article came from The Humane Society of the U. S. and Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.

I’m Barbara Nelson, and this is one of my favorite articles. These beautiful horses and donkeys have such hearts that love human beings and their surroundings. They are just such a part of our western lands they should be  allowed to live there unmolested.

4 thoughts on “Adopting a Miniature Horse; Adopt a miniature Donkey; adopt a Burro Program”

  1. I think horses and donkeys are some of the gentlest animals on Earth. I would help my grandfather look after them when I visited his farm. Oh the memories!

    I’ve never had either one, but if I ever do, I’ll make sure to take care of them properly. Thanks for sharing this. I will bookmark it for future reference.

    1. Thanks for reading my article. I never knew much about horses and donkeys until I started writing about animals. They are,  for the most part, very gentle and intelligent. We humans can learn a lot from animals.

  2. Thank you for very interesting article. My family love animals and we have at least half of dozen cats and dogs in our household (not counting turtle and parrots) but I never thought about miniature horses. They are super cute and my kids would be trilled but at the same time its big responsibility. We do have place to keep them yet they are quite expensive to keep and require lot of attention. I still need to think about it but Im tempted to try as it would be great gift to my children, and creating home for such miniature horse would be also good lesson of responsibility.

    1. Thank you for reading my article. Taking care of a miniature horse is a big responsibility. And yes they need a lot of care, considering that they can live to 25 or more years. You are right, teaching children how to care for animals is a good lesson in responsibility.  Too many  adults never got that lesson, considering how many animals are abandoned every year.

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