Of Horse

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A Horse of a Different Size
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A Horse of a Different Size

Close up, this horse appears to be like any other horse. They have the right proportions and similar traits. It might even be difficult to see any major difference. But back away and you will notice a horse of a different color...er size, to be more exact. This horse is the Miniature Horse.

The Miniature Horse, also known as the "miniature toy horse", "pygmy horse", or simply "minis", is clearly set apart by its small stature. They range between the height of 19 to 38 inches, but only those that are under the height of 34 inches are considered true miniature horses.

There are two types of minis. One is the draft type which are larger and stockier in build. The second is a more refined type. This type retains the characteristics that give it more of a horse appearance than a pony, hence why they are called miniature horses and not considered ponies.

They were first bred throughout Europe between the years 1600 to 1800. They were selectively bred from many horse breeds including the Arabian, the Hackney, and Shetland Ponies among others. The Miniature Horse was mostly bred as a pet for royalty; however, they were also used for driving and pulling small carts in coal mines.

They are suitable for farms of small acreage and for those who do not wish to show horses. During King Henry VIII's reign, the Miniature horse was almost lost. He had ordered that any stallion under 14 hands high would be destroyed. Some foresighted farmers did what they could to hide the horses, thus preserving the breed. They are now common in both Europe and the Americas. 

The Miniature Horse comes in all coat colors and they can even have paint and Appaloosa markings. They have thicker hair than that of their larger counterparts. 

So, if you are looking for a horse that is an easy keeper (and not to mention cute) check out the Miniature Horse. 

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  1. jst4horses
    When I was a child, many decades ago, there was a preserved taxidermy of a mini.... in one of the museums of San Francisco. Since I had an overwhelming horse love, I researched that horse, and found it had been found dead, in a deep canyon in the Grand Canyon. These tiny horses were tested and researched, they were found to have been generations downline from the Cortez horses that were brought by ship to his attacks on Native lands. The speculation was that these horses, since the late 1400's had continued to breed and roam free in the very short supply of food of those deep canyons, and kept being smaller and smaller in stature. The one in the museum was full grown, and 18 inches tall. While fun, and exciting, I always add the caution.......watch out for these tiny horses....people give them to stupid, and abusive children. I stop and make them stop any time I see it going on. I also call animal control and go see the adults (parents, or rental stable owners) who allow this. I have seen TINY horses, sweated up and straining pulling a LOT Of kids, or with kids who are TOOOOOO big to be riding them beating them and forcing them on. Small or not, a HORSE can NOT run and run and run..........I was teaching a licensing program for a race track, and talking about the REASON horse racing is limited to race length and the DEADLY consequences to the horses.....one of the young trainees started crying, she said she had been riding a rented horse on the beach somewhere with a group of friends. She was hitting the horse, and forcing it to run, it dropped DEAD under her. She at that moment in training realized she had abused that animal and killed it. People need to understand and stand up for MINI horses, they are the most often turned over to kids who think it is a bike, or big wheel.
    1. Lucy Watson
      Lucy Watson
      Hi, thank you for your comment. I can see your passion for these horses and I understand the concern. I hope I wasn't giving the impression that you should use them for driving or abuse them. I was merely giving a brief history of them and what some of their uses were. I wouldn't recommend giving them to small children either unless the child is taught how to properly care for and handle them and only under supervision. I also feel that way about other pets such a small dogs and hamsters. I have watched children improperly handle small dogs like Chihuahuas before. I intervened. So, I know what you mean. I think children should be taught how to treat an animal kindly and with great care. It may be a small animal, but it is a huge responsibility. And I must have missed that about Cortez bringing them here while I was researching for this article. Thank you for sharing that. Many of the breeds found in America today were influenced by the horses brought by Cortez as well as some of the settlers' horses who came later. Breeds such as the Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, and Appaloosa can all be traced back to the Mustang which was also brought by Cortez. These small Spanish breeds then go back to the Andalusian and eventually you can trace them back all the way to the Arabian, which is basically the mother of all breeds that we know. I hope all that made sense. Thanks again for your comment. :)

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