The American Miniature Horse is a bred-down version of larger breeds, including Arabians, Thoroughbreds and Draft Horses. They cannot exceed 34 inches in height and are very friendly, gentle animals. They are often favorite pets of children or disabled individuals who may not be able to control a larger animal.
Although they are far too small to be ridden by all but the tiniest of children, the American Miniature Horse is still a great pet and companion. They are gentle and affectionate, making them great pets for all. It has been reported that some are even used as therapy animals in nursing homes. They are especially good for small children who may be frightened by a larger horse.
The foals, ranging between 16 and 21 inches in height at birth, are especially lovable. Although all cannot ride American Miniature Horses, they are quite successful in competition. Driving is an especially popular class, with most shows having a variety of driving classes. The American Miniature Horse is also known for his intelligence and curiosity. This beautiful creature is a joy for all who behold him.
Ideally, a Miniature Horse should resemble its larger relatives in everything but size. To be registered with the American Miniature Horse Association, the horse must be no taller than 34 inches at five years of age. Some registries allow a maximum height of 36 inches. The conformity should be as close to that of a larger horse as possible. The head should be proportionate to the length of the neck and body.
The ears are medium in size and pointed. The neck is long and flexible and the shoulders should be long, sloping and well0angulated. The body should be well muscled, as should the hindquarters and legs. All colors and markings are possible. At least 12 distinct registries recognize the American Miniature Horse, and multitudes of clubs are appearing all over the world. With its wonderful disposition and adorable size, it is no surprise that the American Miniature Horse is rising in popularity.
The care of an American Miniature Horses is similar to the care of full-sized animals, just on a smaller scale. Miniature Horses require significantly less room to exercise and graze: They only need about an acre, versus 3-5 acres per horse for larger breeds. The Miniature Horse will be content in a stall of about 6×8 feet. They are also significantly easier to transport than larger breeds since they take up less space.
Miniatures breed just like the big horses; they are usually no more difficult to breed than larger horses. As is the case with full size horses, they have a heat cycle every 21 days and it takes them 11 months to gestate. It is preferred to hand breed versus pasture breeding so you have a better idea when they will foal because it is a good idea to try to be present at the foaling.
Because they are so small they have a better chance of the foal not being strong enough to break the birth sack and dying unless someone is there to break it for them. Because of their size the mares should never be palpated to determine pregnancy and so you have to depend on an ultrasound or blood test or wait and see if she cycles again. But other than this breeding is usually not difficult.