People are looking at a show ready and conditioned Mini horse and do not realize that the horses they are seeing for sale on farms are not kept in show conditioned. Most breeding farms do not keep all their animals show ready unless they are showing that animal.
Here is a typical winter ready mini horse that you might see for sale on the web. He is not in show condition, he has not been shaved to the skin, he has not had his bridal path cut, and his main has not been oiled down for show. Looks to have great conformation though.
Why not keep all animals show ready all the time? Breeding for one. Mini mares that are going to have babies can be kept show ready but it is a delicate balancing act. A nice fat mare that is ready to have a baby is better to see than a show ready one.
Why keep them hairy? For those of us that live in cold winter claimants we never have to worry about our minis in bad cold weather when they are haired up like this little guy is. When you have a horse that is show ready and you have shows where you live in the winter you have to keep the hair like it would be in summer. This means putting a coat on them and perhaps even having a heated barn to keep them from hairing back up. Minis are very hardy and adaptable animals, the more you pamper the more care they are going to need, and the less likely they can keep warm in the winter.
If you take any show ready mini and let him or her hair up for winter you will end up with a typical fluff ball. And this guy looks no different than any show mini under all the hair and if he had a month or two of working out. But he dose seem to have a vary nice weight under too.
Here is a show mini, or what I'm thinking buyers are calling "more horse like than pony like."
Here are 2 horses I got off line that are show conditioned. And they are lovely specimens at that. But the only difference between these two and the one above is that they have been trimmed, cut, primped, and worked out. Should winter come on, or if they lived in an area where the show season had a down period, they would look just like the little guy above.
Before and After Photos:
Before: Zig Zag
After: Zig Zag
Before: Boogy Boy
After +2 years: Boogy Boy
Show mare from another farm: before show prepping
Ready for show: