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Miniature Horses

Miniature horses have been around since the 17th century, and can be seen in growing numbers all over the world. They are known as Falabellas, Miniature Shetlands, or Miniature Ponies. These small horses are definitely a site to be seen and have won the hearts of many horse lovers. A miniature horse can come in a variety of colors, but cannot exceed 34 inches in height, which is roughly half the size of a full-size breed. This month, we want to explore the history and background of the miniature horse and look into one of the biggest organizations that dedicate themselves to the growth and development of the species.

History

Miniature horses have a mixed history, which dates back to the 17th century. Miniature horses are descendents of Andalusion horses, but their small statue was mostly due to several genetic mutations. There were a very small number of horses that roamed the countryside, so a lot of inter-breeding took place. Overtime, the offspring became smaller and smaller as the gene pool mutated. It wasn’t long until the people of Europe saw the potential of the breed and started using them for their own purposes. Some horses were bred as pets for European nobility, while others were used to work in small confined spaces like coal mines.

In July of 1978, the American miniature horse was incorporated, and a standard of perfection was adopted. There are basically two different types of miniature horse alive today: the draft type and the refined type.

Appearance

Miniature horses are in perfect proportion, and stand less than 34 inches tall. They come in a variety of colors which include: pinto, brown, dapple, palomino, chestnut, perlino, and many others.

Purpose

Today’s miniature pony is known for being a great companion horse. They are just the right size for small children, and are often used for therapeutic purposes. Miniatures are also great in the show ring, and can be taught to do a variety of tricks and commands.

American Miniature Horse Association

The American Miniature Horse Association was founded in Arlington, TX in 1978. Today they have nearly 160,000 horses and more than 12,000 members in 37 counties. The number continues to grow as more and more people find out about miniatures. The goal of the organization is to promote the breeding and use of the horses, and were the first to construct a standard of perfection for miniature horses. If a horse fails to meet the standard, they cannot register themselves with the non-profit organization.

Miniature horses are great for horse lovers that are unable to take on the responsibility of a full-size breed. They are excellent around children, and are much easier to care for than their larger counterparts. If you want to find out more information about these interesting horses, look for a local miniature horse chapter in your area.



Resources

http://www.smallhorse.com/WhatsAMini/index.html

http://www.amha.org/index.asp?KeyName=110

http://www.theminiaturehorse.com/historyminiatures.htm

http://www.lilbeginnings.com/links/info/

http://www.lilbeginnings.com/links/info/color/

 

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