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Katie Van Slyke's Mini Horse Care: Preparing for Birth and Grooming Tips


As a passionate horse breeder at Running Springs, I find immense joy in every aspect of caring for my equine companions. Today, I'll take you through a typical day in the life of preparing Karen, one of my miniature horses, for the birth of her little guy (Squirt), while giving her a much-needed grooming session. You can get merch featuring Karen and my other mini horses on my store.


Karen mini horse

Based on her previous history, I anticipated that her delivery would be around the mid-330s. However, with miniature horses, there can be variations, and Karen seemed to be showing signs of readiness earlier than expected. We were wrong! Karen gave birth to Squirt at 351 days!! Miniature horse pregnancies, though shorter than those of full-sized horses, require careful monitoring and preparation. Karen's behavior, including restlessness, rolling, and increased discomfort, indicates that she was nearing her due date. Hence, it's crucial to ensure that she was clean, comfortable, and ready for the arrival of her foal.


Before giving Karen a bath, I began with a thorough grooming session. Not only does this help in removing loose hair and dirt, but it also allows me to inspect her closely for any signs of discomfort or abnormalities. As I groomed her, I couldn't help but marvel at her belly and how it was sunken, her hips soft, and her behavior indicative of readiness.


One essential aspect of preparing Karen for birth was a sanitary clip. Trimming her hip and udder area not only kept her comfortable but also minimized the risk of complications during and after delivery. Despite being my first experience with a miniature mare, I rely on advice from experienced breeders to ensure I'm taking the necessary precautions.

As I trimmed Karen's coat, I couldn't help but feel a sense of responsibility towards her and her unborn foal. Each snip of the scissors is a step towards ensuring their well-being. However, I admit to some mishaps along the way – a reminder that every experience is a learning opportunity in the journey of horse breeding.


With grooming complete, it was time for Karen's bath – a task made challenging by the lack of a wash bay in our barn. Nonetheless, with the help of a portable water heater, I ensured that Karen received a warm and comfortable bath, despite the makeshift setup. The Insta-Hot Pro proved to be a lifesaver, providing warm water even in our temporary bathing area.

As I bathed Karen, I couldn't help but reflect on the bond between humans and horses. Despite the challenges, Karen trusted me to care for her, even in moments of discomfort. It's a reminder of the mutual respect and understanding that exists between us.


Once bathed, Karen was treated to a generous application of conditioner, leaving her coat soft and shiny. Despite the unconventional circumstances, I'm determined to provide her with the best care possible, even if it means improvising along the way. With Karen cleaned and groomed, I settled her into her stall, knowing that the coming days would hopefully bring the long-awaited arrival of her foal. I was filled with anticipation and gratitude for the opportunity to witness the miracle of birth once again.


Caring for miniature horses like Karen requires patience, dedication, and a willingness to adapt to unexpected challenges. Through grooming, bathing, and preparing for birth, I strived to provide the best possible care for my equine companions. As I eagerly awaited the arrival of Karen's foal, I was reminded of the profound bond shared between humans and horses, a bond built on trust, respect, and unwavering companionship. If you want to see the video of me grooming and bathing Karen click here.

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