As a companion pet, the miniature horse has a lot going for it. Gentle and willing it makes a great therapy or guide animal. The lifespan of a mini is about a third longer than that of a large sized riding horse. Whereas the family dog or cat rarely lives past 15 or 16 years, with proper care your petite equine pal may live for 35 to 50 years, and provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment and companionship.
Miniature Horses can spend tme with you in your home because they can be "housebroken". Unlike their larger cousins who eliminate about every 45 minutes, the mini just naturally tends to eliminate every 3-4 hours and can be trained to wait even longer. Just as a dog will scratch at the door or bark when it needs to go out, a miniature horse can be taught to paw at the door or vocalize its needs. They can be trained to do their business in a specified area of the yard too. If your mini is especially small, it is sometimes possible to modify a large "doggie" door to allow your little horse access to the house and the yard at his own discretion.
Although your mini may be the size of a dog, it must be respected and cared for in the same way as your larger riding mounts. His teeth need to be floated, hooves should be trimmed by the farrier on a regular basis, and special attention must be paid to brushing and currying his coat. Colic is a major health issue, so special attention to the horse's diet must be maintained. Minis with free access to the kitchen have been known to learn to open the refrigerator and help themselves to things no horse should ever have in its diet. Since Miniature Horses are known to founder easily, oats and too much lush green grass are a no no. As with all horses, salt and water are essentials.
Due to its small size, most miniature horses are kept as companion animals or pets and not as a riding mount. They are great for pulling small carts and the larger ones can sometimes support the weight of a small child. Small minis should not be ridden since their backs are not strong enough and may lead to "lumbago" in old age.
Miniature Horses come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are commonly found just about anywhere, so it is unnecessary to spend a large amount of money to buy a horse from a breeder. You might want to consider adopting an unwanted rescue animal, since so many minis are sent to the slaughter houses each year.
Stallions, of course, can be aggressive, mares can be moody, and cute little foals take a lot of time and training. A nice gelding is the best bet for most people, but the choice is of course yours.