What is a Filly, Colt, Foal, Yearling, Stallion, Mare, Sire, Dam?


MALE FEMALE
< 1 year foal / suckling/ weanling foal / suckling/ weanling
1-2 years yearling yearling
< 4 years old colt filly
> 4 years old stallion mare
Parent sire dam
Neutered gelding (castrated)

How did miniature horses get so small?

According to researchers, recognizable horses have been around for more than 60 million years, far longer than humans.  The prehistoric Eohippus was quite small, just like many of today’s miniature horses.  Horses have been successful for such a long time because they have evolved to be safety-conscious.  These millions of years of natural selection make horses ideal guide animals because they are always on the lookout for danger.

While the exact origins of mini horses have been obscured over the centuries, early incunabula texts refer to miniature horses being kept as prized companions of Hapsburg royalty as early as the 17th century. Just as dogs have been bred to be small, centuries of selective breeding have resulted in miniature horses with calm dispositions. Many American miniature horses are extremely small because of the deliberate introduction of dwarfism genes.

Over the past 100 years there has been a great amount of disagreement regarding the origins and genetic characteristics of miniature horses.  Some miniature horse breeds such as the Falabella horses of Argentina were developed in a totally separate environment from the tiny European miniature horses of the eighteenth century, and independent breeding programs have been established on every continent.  In the USA in the 1960s, these horses were called midget ponies, while in South America they were known as Falabella horses.  In the 1970s a movement arose to change the name of tiny horses to miniature horses, and many registries were established with standard sizes ranging from 28 inches to 38 inches.

Miniature horse vet care

Vet care for a horse is comparable to that of a dog. Yearly immunizations are required, and bi-monthly de-worming is required to keep the miniature horse healthy and protected from disease. A de-wormer (such as Ivermectin) can be administrated orally by the owner. The mini horse also needs a farrier to trim their hooves every six to eight weeks.

Do miniature horses play?

As foals, miniature horses play extensively, running and chasing other foals, and playing with large balls. As the miniature horse matures they lose interest in play, but the mini horse can still enjoy games. One of the favorite games for adult miniature horses is bobbing for apples. You simply fill a toddler pool with six inches of water, and drop in two apples!

Miniature horses also like to run and play sometimes, as you can see in this video.

How much hay does a mini need?

What do miniature horses eat?

One bale of hay will usually last one miniature horse for a week.

Miniature horses don’t require a lot of acreage, nor do they eat near as much as the larger breeds.

You must carefully watch the diets of miniature horses.  Because they evolved on the barren Shetland Islands, most miniature horses are “easy keepers”, and metabolize food extremely efficiently. Miniature horses should never eat people food, and some miniature horses need low-feed muzzles to keep them from getting obese

Where can I buy a miniature horse?

You can buy a miniature horse from Sun Valley Miniatures!

Whether you need a pet, a show horse or a stallion for breeding, we might have just the mini for you!

Please check our up-to-date Sales Listing!

How long do horses live?

Horses commonly live to be 25 – 35 years old, and horse ages translate into human ages almost linearly, but with major differences in age equivalents as babies where mature at a rate far faster than humans, reaching pony puberty by age two:

Horse age    Human age
1  year       6 years
2  years     13 years
3  years     18 years
4  years     20 years
5  years     24 years
7  years     28 years
10 years     35 years
13 years     43 years
17 years     53 years
20 years     60 years
24 years     70 years
27 years     78 years
30 years     85 years
33 years     93 years
36 years    100 years

Horse or Pony?

There is an ongoing debate over whether a miniature horse should possess horse or pony characteristics. This is a common controversy within the miniature horse world and also is a hot debate between mini aficionados and other horse and pony breed owners. While technically any member of Equus caballus under 14 hands 2 inches (58 in; 150 cm) is termed a “pony,” many breeds, including some miniature breeds, actually retain a horse phenotype and their breed registry therefore classifies them as horses.

Some miniature horse breed standards prefer pony characteristics such as short, stout legs and elongated torsos, while others prefer ordinary horse proportions. Even the name is in dispute, terms such as “Midget Pony” and “Pygmy Horse” used in addition to “Miniature horse” and breed-specific names such as Falabella. The level of controversy is reflected by the presence of over 30 different registries for miniaturized horses or ponies just within the English-speaking world.

A Shetlands height starts at 38 inches tall.  A Miniature horses height limit is at 38 inches tall. If a horses height is exactly 38 inches, they can be register in both American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) and American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC).  There IS a difference between the two breeds.   A Shetland can be ridden.  People often do ride their minis, but its not safe to, it can easily hurt their backs.  I highly recommend not riding a miniature horse.

A Miniature Horse can be registered in two registries, AMHA and AMHR.

In AMHR there are two divisions, A and B.  A horse under 34 inches is clearly a Division A mini.  A horse over 34 inches is clearly a Division B mini.
However, AMHA only recognizes miniatures under 34 inches.  A mini cannot be registered in AMHA until the age of 5 when they are fully grown.

Miniatures and Shetlands are shown in different classes, and never in a class together.  Classes are set up from the different height and age.

For Example “AMHR Mare 3 & Older – 30 & Under” ,
“AMHR Mare 3 & Older – Over 30 to 32” , OR
“AMHR Mare 3 & Older – Over 32 to 34” .

History of Miniature Horses

Miniature horses were developed from multiple sources. Many different pony breeds were bred for small size, including the Shetland pony and the Dartmoor pony. There may also have been an infusion of bloodlines from certain breeds of full-sized horses.

In the 17th century, miniature horses were bred as pets for Europe’s Habsburg nobility. Records from the court of the French King Louis XIV, circa 1650, note the presence of tiny horses among the exotic creatures in the king’s zoo. Paintings and articles featured the miniature horse by 1765. In England, Lady Estella Hope and her sisters carried on a breeding program from original English lines into the mid-nineteen hundreds. However, not all early miniatures were pampered pets of kings and queens. Some were used to work in the English Midlands, Wales and Northern European coal mines as pit ponies.

In the United States, the miniature horse breed was refined during the 20th century. Miniature horses in the USA added additional lines from sources that included the Hackney Pony and the Pony of the Americas.

The Falabella miniature horse was originally developed in Argentina in 1868 by Patrick Newell. When Newell died, the herd and breeding methods were passed to Newell’s son-in-law, Juan Falabella. Juan added additional bloodlines including the Welsh Pony, Shetland pony, and small Thoroughbreds. With considerable inbreeding he was able to gain consistently small size within the herd.

South Africa‘s Miniature Horses were developed in that nation and are known as the South African Miniature Horses, a recognized breed in its own right. Mr. Wynand de Wet of Lindley, South Africa, started in 1945 with two Shetland mares and a stallion. Through strict selection, their offspring became smaller and in 1991 Mr. de Wet bred a mare that was only 66 centimetres (26 in) tall.

Showing miniature horses

There are many horse show opportunities offered by registries and show sanctioning organizations worldwide. Some classes include: Halter (horse conformation), in-hand hunter and jumper, driving, liberty, costume, and obstacle or trail classes, and showmanship. There are Local, Regional, National, and “World” competitions.