Horse Talk - Page 5
I agree, there are a lot of graceless, sorta lumps on hooves out there, but the really good minis are so well-proportioned, you almost don't realize how small they are unless there is something in the picture to give you an idea of scale.
Mules are just sort of awkward; forever trapped between two worlds. Donkey manes are generally rather sparse and bristly, and mule manes frequently tend pretty much in that direction. Betsy's mane wouldn't lie down no matter what I might do; it pretty much stands up, but has awkward chunks that lean to the left and right, so I roach it at a few inches long just to make it look neater. (I saw her once with her mane completely roached off; that look I really hate.)
There is a horse breed, the Norwegian Fjord, that has almost as much mane as a mini; a great big billowing mop. They are sturdy and solid, and are always shown with a roached mane. All Fjords are duns, so they have that dun dorsal stripe, and some of the effects that can be achieved are just too fun:
Betsy's donkey parent gave her a dun stripe too (coffee brown in the middle, milk chocolate on the edges); I keep thinking about trying one of these effects on her.
Well, you can drive them, at a variety of levels from just for funsies to doing actual work at home to serious competition (there is a thing called a Combined Driving Event that is the driven equivalent of Three Day Eventing, which includes cross-country and arena work, with obstacles and some driven dressage). There are mini horse shows that include classes in halter, showmanship, jumping, costume, driving, liberty, etc. Minis are great for trick training; I know of one that is a certified therapy animal that does hospital and nursing home visits. Larger ones can be ridden by small children. In that picture I posted, Blondie had just done a unicorn-themed pony party where Syd and Betsy did the lead line pony thing and the kids got to decorate the unicorn (Blondie) in a variation of "Pony Dress-up" by putting stick-on jewels on her halter and harness and flowers in her hair (Blondie wrecked her "horn" by rubbing her face against a fence *sigh*). Basically, you can do anything with a mini that you can imagine doing with a big horse, other than riding it, of course.