Miniature horse are popular companions for horse lovers and non-horse people alike. Their diminutive size and cute faces make them irresistible. There are Miniature Horses that are among the smallest equines in the world,and some are record holders. Minis are easy to keep and are as trainable as any full-size horse. Shows featuring Miniature Horses allow those who would not normally be able to keep, ride and train a horse the opportunity to enjoy horses and compete.
Of course, owners of regular sized horses also enjoy having these ponies around, just for the novelty. They’re great for kids to handle, as their size makes them less intimidating for small children and timid adults. Despite their size however, they are very strong and should be trained to be respectful and obedient, just like any other equine.
There is a wide range of body types and both draft types and more refined types are valued by enthusiasts. Draft types are stocky and sturdy looking. More refined types are finer and more elegant. Miniature Horses were developed from a wide range of horse and pony breeds. Depending on their parentage they have characteristics of Shetland Ponies, Arabians, Hackney Ponies, and many others.
The American Miniature Horse Registry recognizes two divisions of Miniature Horses. "A" Division Minis are 8.2 hands high (34 inches) and under; and "B" Minis are 8.2 hands high (34 inches) up to and 9.2 hands high (38 inches).
Mini enthusiasts tend to use inches or centimeters rather than hands to measure.
Most Minis are too small to be ridden by anyone but the smallest child. Many owners drive their Minis hitched to carts, wagons, or sleighs singly or in teams. Owners can exhibit their horses in show classes including conformation, where the physical traits of the horses are evaluated, driving, and lead line costume, obstacle courses, jumping, and games.
Many of the competitions are similar to trials done with dogs.
Minis are used as companion animals to visit shut-ins and as guide animals to assist the blind, and hearing impaired. There is some controversy whether these are suitable jobs for these animals. However, they are valuable companion animals providing comfort to their owners, as well as providing aid to mobility.
Color and Markings:
Miniature Horses come in every color and coat pattern imaginable. You’ll find solid coats, pintos, and spotted coats like the Appaloosa Horse. Their coats may be a bit thicker than a horses, and they usually have copious manes and tails.
History and Origins:
Miniature Horses have been bred for centuries by selectively breeding horses and ponies of diminutive size. The American Registry was established in the late 1970s and Miniature Horse enthusiasts have formed clubs, registries and associations world wide. They are also known as Miniature Toy Horses and Miniature Ponies.
Their small size makes them ideal for keeping on small acreages where there would be no room for a herd of large horses.
They are great horses for the novice owner since they are small and easy to care for. Like most ponies, Minis are easier to overfeed, than underfeed.
Champions and Celebrity:
Black Beauty holds the distinction of being the world's smallest pony according to Guinness Book of Records.
The diminutive stallion Bond Tiny Tim appears in many pedigrees and stood only 19 inches at the shoulder. Many of his offspring went on to be champions.