Miniature horses are selectively bred for height.
They were developed from multiple breeds of small horses and ponies that were all bred for small size, including the Shetland pony, small Thoroughbred, Dartmoor pony, Hackney pony, Pony of Americas and Welsh pony.
To qualify for registration each tiny horse must meet the height restriction.
UK – The British Miniture Horse Society – not exceeding 34ins (86.3cm)
USA – AMHA – Division A – 34in and under
Division B – 34ins and up to 38ins
There is no set type to the breed, each horse must be a perfectly formed horse in a scaled down version.
Each horse must have the correct conformation characteristics and be healthy, sound and well balanced, with all colours being acceptable.
In the 17th century, they were bred as pets for Europe’s nobility.I can picture these elegant tiny horses grazing on the lawns at stately homes.
Lady Estella Hope and her sisters carried on breeding the English lines in the mid-19th century and many of the American miniatures are descendants from the “Hope” line.
Dwarfism is a concern within the tiny horse world.
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 miniatures affected by dwarfism for breeding stock registration.
Today they are used for pets, companions and showing. They are a splendid sight in the show ring.
They are also trained as service animals, assistance horse for people with disabilities.
While these horses can be trained to work indoors, they are still real horses and are healthier when allowed the freedom to live outdoors in a paddock or field with shelter and room to run when not working with humans.
There is controversy over whether miniture horses are suitable as assistance animals for the blind.
Those who favour their use, point out that horses live much longer than dogs and can be trained to perform similar tasks.
Equus - 1
Mesohippus - early equid - 2
Miohippus - early equid - 3
Parahippus - Merychippus- equid - 4
Hipparion - Phiohippus- Dinohippus - Plesippus - equid - 5
Tarpan - extinct horse type -6