The result of nearly 400 years of selective breeding, historians tend to support the Miniature Horse breed as a derivative of many sources. In prehistoric times small horse breeds were likely the products of surviving harsh natural climates and limited feed. Today, knowledge of genetics has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality.
The first mention of a small horse being imported into the United States was in 1888; and research shows little public awareness of true Miniatures until 1960. Popular belief is that the American Miniature Horses utilized the blood of English and Dutch mine horses that were brought to this country in the 19th century and used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. The American Miniature Horse, as documented in the pedigrees of some Miniatures today, also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony. Throughout its colorful past, the Miniature Horse breed has been bred for pets, novelty, research, monetary gain, mining work, exhibition and royal gifts.
Size. No bigger than a large dog, American Miniature Horses are “miniature” versions of well balanced horses, possessing confirmation characteristics found in most equine breeds. Miniature Horses can be found in a rainbow of colors and types.
Personality. Eager to please, the American Miniature Horse makes a gentle and affectionate companion for individuals of any age or ability.
Versatility. Though petite, Miniature Horses are extremely versatile and excel in a variety of disciplines including driving, halter, jumping, obstacle and others.
1. Basic Horse Knowledge. Miniature Horses are horses with the same reactions a motivations as large-size horses. While Miniature tend to be affectionate and easy to handle, as with all equines, temperaments and abilities vary by the individual. Before purchasing, it is important for a newcomer to consider: a. His/her level of horse ability/experiences. b. His/her goal as a Miniature Horse owner (show, breed, companion, etc.)
2. Research. Learn about the breed. Visit reputable breeders. Request information from the American Miniature Horse Association. Visit the AMHA website at www.amha.org. Read the Miniature Horse World Magazine. Locate and attend AMHA-approved shows.
3. Maintenance. Maintaining a Miniature Horse is about 1/10th the cost of maintaining a large-size horse. One acre can support up to two Miniature Horses. Miniatures tend thrive on pasture, sunshine and room to run and play. They are also prone to overeating, so it’s important to monitor their nutritional needs and avoid excessive food intake.
4. Versatility. Miniatures are eager to learn and excel in driving, obstacle, jumping and a variety of other disciplines. Miniature Horses should never be ridden by any but the smallest children (under 50lbs).
The Association. The American Miniature Horse Association is the world’s leading Miniature Horse registry with over 185,000 horses and more than 11,000 members in 38 countries. Founded in 1978, AMHA promotes the breeding, use and perpetuation of a standard of equine excellence in Miniature, separate and apart from ponies and other small equines. Horses registered with AMHA must meet the Association standard of perfection and cannot exceed 34 inches in height measured from the base of the last hairs of the mane.
Source: American Miniature Horse Association 5601 S. Interstate 35 W Alvarado, TX 76009