August 10, 2008 | | Comments 0

Miniature Horses

Miniature Horses

Scaling Down with Miniature Horses

People generally know that ponies are smaller than horses. Some people however are not fully aware of the difference in body structures between ponies and horses. This is why miniature horses are sometimes regarded as ponies. Strange as it may seem though, miniature horses are real horses.

Small Horses

Apparently, miniature horses did not descend from any single, ancient horse breed. There were therefore no natural miniatures. They were instead specifically bred using various horse and pony breeds. Inbreeding of small offspring ensured even smaller descendants.

Although miniature horses are more popular today, there is some evidence that they have already been around for some time. Some royal European courts were believed to have had these horses as companion animals and pets. Naturally, there weren’t very many of them. Only the rich could afford the luxury of keeping and feeding such horses. The common working class needed highly functional horses that earned their keep. In modern times however, some small horses found their function in tight mining environments where only they could offer prompt assistance to miners.

Today, with the decrease in demand for functional work and carriage horses, sports and luxury horses have become more popular. Those who do not have the space or financial resources to care for full grown horses keep miniature ones. Although these horses still require the same feeding and keeping treatment accorded to large horses, their small sizes reduce the effort and cost of care.

Although miniature horses cannot be ridden, they are not without their use. They can most definitely become attractive elements in horse shows. There are also some events that feature driving and jumping for miniature horses. Miniature horses can also be useful companion and guide animals. Like dogs, these horses can help lead handicapped owners. Miniature horses have truly come a long way. From prized show pets, they are now considered gentle but highly reliable companions.

Miniature Horse Traits

There are a variety of miniature horses. Various breeding groups and registries have their own set of guidelines for determining ideal traits in the miniatures to be included in their registries. Miniatures can therefore be bred from many different horse and pony breeds. In general though, miniature ponies range between thirty-four to thirty-eight inches. That makes them far smaller then ponies.

What sets them apart from ponies are their physical attributes. Ponies typically have shorter legs and stockier bodies in proportion to the rest of their structures. Miniature horses however approach horse traits better because they retain very proportioned body parts. They look just like horses but only smaller. In a way, they are scaled down versions of horses.

In some instances, dwarves are born. Some of these horses cannot even go over twenty inches. Some people might actually like having dwarf horses. Although a number of them live long, many experts do not encourage the breeding of dwarves. It is possible that there may be implications on the health of horses born as dwarves. It is often best to stick to the breeding of miniatures rather than dwarves.

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Filed Under: Horse Breeds

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