Miniature horses are becoming popular pets. A lot of folks refer to them as ponies, but they are not.
A pony is a horse that is shorter than 58 inches at the top of the shoulders. They have wide, strong bodies. Their necks are usually muscular, and their legs are short for their size. There are many kinds of ponies, some taller than others. The miniature horse is different from a pony. They are shorter than the smallest ponies. To be classified as a mini they must be no taller than 34 inches, measured at the top of the shoulders, where the mane ends. A full-grown mini weighs between 150 and 250 pounds. Although some minis resemble ponies, the goal of miniature horse breeders is to create a tiny horse.
Miniature horses come in a large variety of colors. They can have Appaloosa spots, pinto patches, solid colors, or beautiful tan buckskins with dark legs, manes, and tails. Colors that are rare in regular horses are common place in minis, such as dark bodies with white or cream manes and tails.
Miniature horses became popular back in the late 1970s, some looked like riding horses while others resembled draft horses. These two types were both popular, but the most important thing was their small size. In modern times things have changed. Miniatures are now well-proportioned with a beautiful heads.
Today, miniature horse breeders are working to create two main riding-horse types. The first similar to a Quarter Horse, called a stock-horse type because Quarter Horses are used to work with livestock like cattle. These animals have muscular legs and broad chests.
The second type features a finer bone structure and a slimmer body. Its head looks more like that of an Arabian horse, with a delicate muzzle.
Miniatures are real horses. They love being left in a pasture to graze. They also can be put in barn stalls. The only thing not small about miniature horses is their personalities and spirits.
Female minis have babies called foals, in the springtime, and just like other horses, minis give birth eleven months after mating. A newborn miniature horse weighs about 20 pounds and stands between 16 and 21 inches tall. You can pick one up and carry it like it were a puppy. Not long after birth, it is standing on its own four feet and nuzzling its mother, looking for milk. In a few hours, it can dash around the pasture and buck and jump in the crisp spring air.
One problem that miniature horse owners worry about is having dwarf foals. A dwarf is not the same as a miniature. Its teeth often don't match up properly for good chewing. A dwarf may have a head too big for its neck and a pot belly. A horse with some dwarf traits may be perfectly healthy and make a fine pet, but others have problems with bones and teeth that make life painful for them. Dwarfs cannot be registered as miniature horses.
Male miniatures are called stallions. A mare can have only one foal each year. But a stallion can mate with many mares every year and father a number of foals. A miniature horse stallion seems not to notice his own small size. He will challenge other males by whinnying and prancing about with his neck arched.
The trait that makes miniature horses so endearing is their gentle friendliness toward humans. They enjoy human company, even that of strangers. People all across the world are falling head over heels in love with miniature horses.