Miniature Horses are smaller versions of standard-size horses that cannot exceed a height of 34 inches in height for the American Miniature Horse Club (AMHA) or 38 inches in height for the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR). When measuring a miniature, you take the measurement from the mane’s last hairs. Miniature horses can be easily trained to be driving horses, just check out this video:
An excellent test for a miniature horse breeder is to photograph your animal, without a size reference, such as a person, and see if you can tell whether or not it is a show quality, full-scale horse. If you cannot tell, you have accomplished your goal. Miniature foals are very tiny and range between 16 and 22 inches. Most people can’t resist picking a foal up and holding it in their arms.
Miniature horses come in every color and shade that the full-size horse can come in as well. This goes for the color of eyes and hooves as well. the hair should be lustrous and silky.
In the winter in northern climates, it is not uncommon to see miniatures with 3-7” long hair coats, depending on whether they are stabled or allowed access to open shed and open lots. At the onset of the show season, they may be clipped but should be protected with blankets and stabling until your weather turns to summer temperatures.
They will naturally shed their long woolly coats by themselves in the spring of the year to look like the sleek, well-conditioned animals they are under that coat. To learn something on exceptional show riding, check out this post about the Spanish Riding Academy in Vienna, Austria.
What are they good for?
Miniature horses make excellent pets as well as show animals for the competitive person, not to mention a lucrative investment. Their value is still on the increase, and good quality miniatures are in big demand. See also this post about StoneHaven Ranch that has been in the miniature Horse business for many decades.
One reason for their rising popularity is the ease of handling and maintaining them. People who no longer have the strength or health to enjoy full-size horses have little trouble with minis. Be aware, though, that it’s crucial to choose the appropriate tack for your miniature horse, especially when you let children ride your horse!
Children who are afraid of 1200 pound horses throw their arms around their necks and kiss them on their noses. Handicapped children feel in control, are confident and unafraid around them, and are even able to exhibit competitively at shows. They are often able to drive them unassisted, so enjoy a feeling of mobility.
Miniature shows – what do you do with them?
Shows have varied classes for the amateur as well as the professional horseman. Classes range (according to the animals’ sex, age, color, and height) from halter, halter obstacle, jumper, hunger, liberty, pleasure driving, formal park driving, roadster driving, to country- and obstacle driving. They also range according to their handlers by age, sex, amateur and open classes. Check out also this article about the Paso Fino Horse, a natural choice and one of the most elegant riding horses on the planet!
A big hit for the family is watching a loved one in the costume class. You may take your horse into shows yourself or hire a professional trainer, or do combinations of both. There is nothing more exhilarating than competing against the world’s finest miniatures, should you make it to the Nationals!
The one thing most people comment on is the camaraderie between most of the people who compete against each other at miniature horse shows. It is not uncommon to see competitors help each other with shampooing, giving hints or advice, or cheering each other on, even when pitted against each other in a class. This part of the wonder of “Mini” people as a rule.
OK – so I don’t want to show my Mini. What else can I do with it?
Miniature horses are useful in other ways besides making people feel good or competing for honor or monies in shows. Minis are very strong for their size and can pull large loads under harness. Spring is here and summer is near, so get out to the countryside and enjoy your miniature horse! If your mini horse is getting older, it’s crucial to take good care of it. Your horse has become part of your family so treat him with respect after all those years of fun.
One of the pluses of living in the country is riding through beautiful countryside in a cart pulled by one or more miniature horses. The scenery, fresh air, and wildlife you observe across America are unbelievable, not to mention the attention you get from people you pass!
It is also fun to drive your cart through our little towns picnic with your family and also to participate in local parades. Parade watchers of every age enjoy seeing the gentle little equine prance along the route. Groups of other mini cart enthusiasts enjoy meeting and driving together through the summer months. Friendships grow fast and firm in the “mini-circle”.
Miniatures can even give rides under saddle to children of 60 pounds or under, provided the mini is at least 3 years old. Regardless of why you choose a Miniature, it becomes a family affair.