What is a Miniature Horse - And What do you do with it???

Anyone who owns a miniature horse will answer this question MANY times.  Well, a miniature horse is probably bred down from the Shetland Pony, the smallest of which were prized for working in the mines in Europe during the 1900's and were also imported to the U.S..  Another branch of the miniatures began in Argentina with the Falabella family.  It is probable that along the way, small horses of other breeds were also introduced, as the Appaloosa color appears in miniatures but not in Shetlands.  The breed has become much more refined in later years and often resembles the Arabian in head and type.

There are two registries for miniature horses in the U.S..  The American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) has two divisions.  The "A" division includes horses that measure 34 inches and under, while the "B" division includes horses 34 inches and up to 38 inches.  The second registry is the American Miniature Horses Association, which included ONLY those horses in the 34 inch and under measurement.  These registries assure accurate pedigrees and sponsor shows where breeding stock can be evaluated.

Who owns miniature horses?  Well, you'd be surprised!  They might just be found in a backyard in your neighborhood!  They are small enough that they can be kept on a fairly small amount of land, as they weight only about 1/4 or less than the average full size horse.  Miniature horses are often kept as pets. Sometimes by seniors who owned horses in the past, but want a smaller companion now.  Of course, there are breeders who have ranches with hundreds of miniatures.

What do you do with miniature horse?  They can be ridden, but only by toddlers.  But, they can be shown in halter classes, can drive carts, can jump obstacles, and can just be loved.  Some minis visit nursing homes, participate in parades, and many are the companions of youngsters who are able to care for these smaller horses.  A miniature horse is cheaper to buy, about 1/10 the cost of maintaining a full sized horse, and comes in many colors and patterns.  They are friendly, well-mannered and gentle by nature.

If you are interested in owning a miniature horse, there are many resources to help you find a healthy, happy horse and help you learn how to care for it.  The AMHA and AMHR both have websites and many of their members have website with resources on history, horse care, training, color breeding, and many other subjects.  A great book to read is "Miniature Horses: Their Care, Breeding and Coat Colors" by Barbara Naviaux.  Do your homework and find a good breeder who has quality, healthy horses to share.  You might consider buying two minis, as they love to have company.  Don't be surprised if two aren't enough!

For more information on miniature horses, visit these websites:

www.amha.org

www.shetlandminiature.com/amhr

www.lilbeginnings.com

 

 

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