Miniature horses are a smaller version of our regular domestic horses that has been bred.
What does a mini horse look like?
Mini horses look like normal horses – with the four legs, the typical head, the mane, and the long tail, they are the miniature image of an elegant large riding horse. Only they are much smaller than normal horses, they are even smaller than a pony.
Mini horses may measure a maximum of 86 centimeters from the hooves to the point at the so-called withers – this is the point where the mane ends. On the other hand, Shetland ponies, for example, can be 107 to 117 centimeters high. The coat color of mini horses can be as varied as other horses, and they can also have multicolored coats with patterns.
They have a broad forehead with large, expressive eyes, the distance between the eyes and the muzzle is relatively small. The nostrils are large, the ears are medium-sized and the neck is gently curved.
Where do mini horses come from?
No one knows exactly where the miniature horses come from. However, there are cave paintings that are almost 3000 years old that show small horses that look like miniature horses. However, they most likely have nothing to do with today’s miniature horses: they have probably only been around since the 18th century. At that time they were bred especially for European royal families.
What is certain is that two newspaper articles from 1765 report on miniature horses that were brought to England from Bengal and the East Indies.
The miniature horses alive today come from the United States, where they have been bred for decades. In Europe and Germany, they have only been widespread for a few years. Mini horses, like normal domestic horses, live in the care of humans. They do not occur in the wild.
What types of mini horses are there?
For a horse to be considered a miniature horse, it must have certain characteristics. The best known today is the American Miniature Horse, which is considered a separate breed. Miniature horses should not be confused with miniature ponies. These are a particularly small breed of Shetland ponies. Unlike miniature horses, however, they have the typical appearance of ponies: their head is very large in relation to their body and their fur is long and very dense.
How old does a mini horse get?
Mini horses can live up to 30 years.
How do mini horses live?
Mini horses can do the same things as big horses: they are riding horses for children, they can jump and they can also pull small carts.
A few mini horses are even used like guide dogs: the specially trained animals accompany blind people on their journeys. Mini horses are very social and need a lot of attention. You have to deal with them a lot and move them enough.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, they were mainly kept by kings – as playmates for the royal children. But over time, the kings lost their power – and with them, the little horses almost completely disappeared from Europe.
Only a few animals came to America, where they were used in breeding Shetland ponies, and where they were also bred as a separate breed. Above all, the American breeders Eli Ellion, Moorman Field, and Smith McCoy became known for breeding miniature horses.
From 1960 mini horses were kept more and more frequently. The stallion Freeman’s Star, who was just 76 centimeters high, is considered the progenitor of today’s American mini horses.
Today, 155,000 mini horses are registered in the studbook of the American Mini Horse Breeding Association. Only horses that are no higher than 86 centimeters at the age of five may be designated as mini horses. American miniature horses were first imported to Europe in 1976.
Friends and foes of the mini horse
Mini horses have no enemies.
How do mini horses reproduce?
Mini horses reproduce like normal horses. A mare can have a foal once a year.
How do mini horses communicate?
Mini horses are whinny like big horses.
What does a mini horse eat?
Mini horses eat hay, oats, and grass just like their big relatives. From time to time they like to snack on carrots or apples.
The posture of the mini horse
Miniature horses are so small that they can even be kept in a large garden.
The garden or property absolutely needs a fence that is about one meter high, so that the curious mini horses cannot escape. They also need a stable. It should be made of wood and closed on three sides so that the horses are protected from wind and weather. The floor is thickly strawed since miniature horses lie down fully to sleep. However, mini horses should never be kept alone: they are very sociable and need contact with other horses.
Miniature horses need plenty of water to drink. Because they have very small stomachs and cannot eat that much at once, they need to be fed several times a day. Two to five times a day they get hay, 100 to a maximum of 200 grams of concentrated feed or oats, and a few carrots or apples. If the miniature horses can graze outside, they need less hay. Of course, the barn has to be mucked out every day – in the morning and in the evening. The hooves have to be cleaned every day. In addition, the fur needs regular care. During the molting period in spring and autumn, it should be brushed with a curry comb at least once a day.