The Miniature Horse or a mini horse that is known for its small size as compared to a full-sized horse. These horses are the results of selective breeding carried out over many centuries. The horse is trained to be a companion animal.
They are also used as service animals for the disabled, just like assistance dogs. Being a horse, it is used for driving and takes part in horse shows.
There are some who would say the miniature horse should be classified as a pony, but it is not a pony!
The difference between a miniature horse and a pony is that it is smaller than a pony but is not dwarfish in appearance. It has the features of a regular horse but has been bred to be smaller in size.
They were originally bred in Europe in the 1600s. There are many horse breeds and ponies from which miniature horses were bred. This includes the Shetland pony. They were initially bred as pets for the nobles of European courts. They were first seen in the Palace of Versailles in King Louis XIV’s zoo.
In England, these horses were used in mines after laws banned children from being used. It was in 1861 that the first miniature horse arrived in the United States. They were initially used in mines before being used for show events.
The Falabella in Argentina and the South African miniature horse are other breeds of miniatures. In the USA, the American miniature horse Registry (AMHR) and the American miniature horse association AMHA operate the registries for these horses.
It must be known that this horse is too small to be used for riding unless it is ridden by small kids. Children can sit in a trailer that can be pulled by the horse. The way the horse is bred makes it look similar to a full-sized horse but in miniature.
This horse has been bred for use with humans. They are docile and get along well with humans. They have been used as pets by nobles and are used for the same purpose today.
They differ from ponies and are distinct in terms of being a small version of a regular horse. While a pony has short legs and a thicker neck, the mini has a flexible neck, short back, and has straight legs.
Miniature horses need a balanced diet of grass hay along with oats and other grains. Since they are small in size, the chances of being overfed are high. This is why care should be taken to provide the right quantity of food with the right mix of nutrients.
The food to be provided should depend on the body weight and the kind of activity the horse does. Clean drinking water should be available for the mini.
Breeding And Uses
The horses are bred in many countries and there are many registries that are maintained. Most registries breed miniatures so that they have all the characteristics of a regular horse but on a smaller scale. However, there are certain registries that breed minis to have the characteristics of a pony.
The mini-sized equines are mainly used as companions and as family pets. They are used as assistance animals. They also participate in shows.
The size of the miniature horse is between 34 to 38 inches. The AMHA only considers horses that are 34 inches (8.5 hands) or lesser for registration. The AMHR has two divisions, one that restricts to 34 inches and lesser and the other from 34 to 38 inches.
The weight of the miniature horse is between 150 to 350 pounds.
What Breeds Make Up The Miniature Horse?
These horses have been bred from Shetland ponies and many other small British horses as well as small Dutch horses. Small thoroughbreds have also been used to breed this horse. They also have the Arabian and quarterhorse bloodline in them.
Since miniature horses are used mainly as companions, they come in different colors. The coat patterns are also varied.
What Do They Look Like?
They are small but not a dwarf horse. This is a key distinction to be noted. It looks like a scaled-down version of a large horse. Even though it is a small horse, it is strong and fast.
It has slim legs that are long enabling it to be agile. It has strong shoulders and a sloping back. It is muscular and strong. It has a long neck that is flexible. It has a long mane and a bushy tail.
What Is A Miniature Horse Used For?
They can be used for driving. Even though they are small, they are strong. They can be tied to a carriage and driven mainly by children. They can also carry loads. They are used in many show events meant for mini horses.
They have been mainly bred to be companions to humans. They are used as assistance horses to help people who are disabled. They can be trained to help carry loads and even open doors. They can be taken to supermarkets and other places to help the human they are assisting.
The miniature horse is also used as a pet at homes. It is recommended that since it is essentially a horse, it should be housed in a barn. However, some people keep it in their homes. It can even be potty-trained and would go once in 5 or 6 hours to relieve itself outside.
They need to be physically active and should be allowed to graze to be in good health.
Where Do They Live?
The miniature horse is found in different countries. It is available in the USA, Argentina, South Africa, Europe, Asia, and many other places. It is one of the common horses that is preferred for its small size.
How Long Do They Live?
The interesting thing about the miniature horse is that it can live longer than a regular-sized horse. They can live for 25 to 35 years, which is fairly long compared to most horse breeds. This makes them ideal as pets or companion animals for humans.
It is fairly healthy but can face problems. These horses can have difficult births owing to the small size of the mares. They can commonly have dental issues leading to overcrowding of teeth. One of the most common problems is that of dwarfism. This can happen due to mutation.
Since they are used as pets, they tend to be overfed and under-exercised causing obesity and related problems.
How Fast Are They?
A miniature horse is not a racing horse. However, it has long legs proportionate to its body. This gives it agility allowing it to run fast if required. The horse can run for up to 18 miles per hour.
How Much Do They Cost?
The mini horse has been bred for use as pets and companions. Hence, they are not highly-priced. You can get a mini horse for around $1,000 or even less. The cost of this horse is unlikely to exceed $4,000.
Are Miniature Horses Good For Beginners?
The miniature horse is perfect for all types of persons, whether experienced with horses or not. These horses have been bred to work with humans. They are calm, patient, intelligent, and docile. They get along well with humans and children.
They are used as pets and as companions and are willing to be trained. They can even be potty trained. They can help around the house. Their intelligence, small size, and temperament make them the best horse for everyone.
Conclusion / Summary
The miniature horse has been bred exclusively as a pet for humans. Initially, bred as pets for nobility, they are now pets for humans. They are companion dogs that get along well with humans. Just like dogs can assist the disabled, a mini horse can also assist disabled persons.
The horse is small in size and can even be kept in a home. It can be potty trained making it ideal as a pet. However, it is a horse, albeit a miniature one. Hence, it needs a stable or an enclosure. It also needs grass to graze and should be physically active, so it can be healthy.
It has a very positive temperament making it suitable as a companion horse. It can be even trained to work on a farm as a driving horse. The horse can participate in horse shows. They are intelligent animals that like people.
Mini horses are among the least expensive horses. They don’t cost much money to maintain. They are in good health usually. The horse has a very long life span of up to 35 years, making it a great companion horse.
It is a cute animal that children would love to own. People with space in their backyard can buy one as a pet. They would find it easy to manage this beautiful horse, which can be a good companion.