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
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
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: