Many of the international organizations are associated with the AMHA, including clubs throughout Canada and in several European countries. The Amur is a division of the American Shetland pony Club and was established as a separate registry in 1972.
Horses of any eye or coat color, and any form of white markings, are allowed to be registered. According to the Amur, a “Miniature should be a small, sound, well-balanced horse and should give the impression of strength, agility and alertness.
However, there are also some health issues that are more frequently found in miniature horses than their full-sized relatives. Dental issues, including crowding, brachygnathism (overbites) and pragmatism (under bites) are frequently seen, due to having the same number of teeth in a much smaller mouth.
The combination of a propensity for overeating and dental problems can lead to an increased occurrence of colic. A major metabolic problem seen more frequently in miniature horses is hyperlipidemia, where an appetite-reducing stressor can cause the body to break down significant amounts of fat, overwhelming the liver and potentially leading to liver failure.
The majority of the health problems seen more frequently in miniature horses are easily rectified with proper feeding and maintenance. Miniature stallion with mares and foalsMiniature horses were first developed in Europe in the 1600s, and by 1765 they were seen frequently as the pets of nobility.
The first small horses in the United States date to 1861, when John Rare imported four Shetland ponies, one of which was 24 inches (61 cm) tall. These small horses continued the work of their British relatives, being employed in the coal mines of the eastern and central US until the mid-1900s.
In the 1960s, public appreciation for miniature horses began to grow, and they were increasingly used in a number of equestrian disciplines. The Flagella was originally developed in Argentina in the mid-1800s by Patrick New tall.
With considerable inbreeding he was able to gain consistently small size within the herd. Some resemble miniature Arabians, while others appear to be scaled-down versions of draft horses.
Other breeders soon followed, with many using Arabian horses in their breeding programs. There are approximately 700 miniature horses registered in South Africa.
Many classes are offered, including halter (horse conformation), in-hand hunter and jumper, driving, liberty, costume, obstacle or trail classes, and showmanship. Miniature horses are also used as companion animals and pets for children, elderly people, and people who are blind or have other disabilities, as they are generally less intimidating than full-sized horses.
While miniature horses can be trained to work indoors, they are still real horses and are healthier when allowed to live outdoors (with proper shelter and room to run) when not working with humans. Some miniature horse breed standards prefer pony characteristics such as short, stout legs and elongated torsos, while others prefer ordinary horse proportions.
Dwarf horses, while often setting world records for size, are not considered to have desirable traits, generally have incorrect conformation, and may have significant health and soundness issues. Therefore, many miniature horse registries try to avoid accepting minis affected by dwarfism for breeding stock registration.
In 2014, a commercial DNA test became available for one set of dwarfism mutations. The four mutations of the Can gene are known to cause dwarfism or aborted fetuses in miniature horses.
The current record holder for the world's smallest horse is also a horse affected by dwarfism, Tumbling, who is fully mature but stands 17 inches (43 cm) tall and weighs 60 pounds (27 kg). A demonstration image of a miniature horse working as a service animalThere is controversy over whether miniature horses are suitable as assistance animals for persons with disabilities.
Those who favor their use point out that horses live much longer than dogs and can be trained to perform similar tasks. Another plus is that some individuals, particularly from Muslim cultures, consider dogs unclean, but accept horses.
In the US, where they are legally classified as livestock and require outdoor stabling for good health, their use is limited to owners with access to a large yard in communities having tolerant land use regulations. In terms of practical considerations, they note that it is difficult for even a miniature horse to do things such as lie down in the seat of a taxicab or to stay in a hotel room for extended periods of time.
Story's Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America. ^ “Unique -- Interesting -- A Class All of LTS Own,” Archived December 14, 2006, at the Payback Machine The Journal of The American Shetland Pony Club Accessed January 17, 2007 ^ “The Top 20 Miniature Horse Registries”.
Archived April 1, 2013, at the Payback Machine American Miniature Horse Association. ^ “History” Archived August 14, 2011, at the Payback Machine, Miniature Horse Breeders' Society of South Africa.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Miniature horse. With a thick coat and short legs, Shetland ponies present a cute, stocky figure.
They are hardy and easy to care for, but their thick coats and bushy manes and tails require regular grooming. As with a number of animals, their smaller size also leads to a longer life, with Shetland ponies often living to 30 years, and even beyond.
Other physical qualities, such as having a Quarter Horse body, an Arabian-style dishy face are also valued. That, coupled with their hardy nature and good temperament, makes them excellent prospects for a number of competitive disciplines, in addition to pleasure riding.
While Welsh ponies are spirited, they balance that out with soundness, intelligence and a good nature. Welsh ponies have strong, muscular hindquarters, sloped shoulders and short backs.
Their front legs are straight and short, and their tails are eye-catching in the show ring, as they are high set and thick. The most common colors are black, gray, chestnut and bay, but you can even find duns and palominos.
They were also important components of the Industrial Revolution, being pack horses that would haul copper and iron ore. As would be expected with their history, the Fell Pony is stocky and hardy, and they have a hard-working and cooperative temperament.
They are easy to train and very loyal, and are prized for their sure-footed gait, even in rougher terrain. In fact, Hackney ponies were first kept outside all year in the English Fells to selective develop that characteristic toughness.
Due to their natural trotting abilities, they are often a favorite show pony, while their tough nature made them excellent war horses for hauling artillery in World War Two. It turns out this renewed interest in them for competition was a literal lifesaver, as they were very close to extinction as a breed at the time.
Rather than your typical, fully domesticated pony breeds, these little horses are still partly feral in certain areas of southern England. Because of their small wild herd sizes, the Ex moor Pony is listed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Despite their more modern success, they remain the oldest and purest bloodline of the English horse breeds. Dartmoor's are especially good with children, being a perfect combination of small size and a sound mind.
They have a cute, small head, alert ears and those typical wide-set pony eyes. They are excellent riding ponies for children, but are strong enough to often also carry small adults.
With an average height of 13 to 14.2 hands tall, Connemara ponies are a good size for riding for both children and small adults. That said, the registry didn’t even exist until relatively recently, with the Connemara not even being recognized as a full breed until 1926.
Typically, Connemara's are excellent sport ponies, being suitable for both adults and children to ride. The Wear is also a newer pony breed, officially established only in 1981 in the USA, but is gaining popularity fast.
They stand up to 14 hands tall and have bodies and builds similar to that of a Quarter Horse. They are quite literally the pony-sized version of the American Quarter Horse, making them Western show favorites.