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American Miniature Horse
Height at the withers:
max 86.5 cm
small head in proportion with the body with a straight or concave profile, wide forehead and expressive eyes, long and elegant neck, slender but well-developed body, linear
Colour of coat:
all colours possible
attentive, eager to learn, oriented towards people
elegant, noble, flexible, effortless shoulder action and cadence
Europe, breeding in the USA
North America, Europe
Therapy, carriage, shows, guiding the blind
Did you know? The smallest American Miniature Horse only measures 44.5 cm! This mare called Thumbelina was born with a short stature and is known to be the smallest horse in the world. However, her proportions are not equivalent to those of a large horse.
Tiny horses with the same proportions as large horses: miniature horses. These miniature horses don’t share the typical stocky build seen in ponies – nor their headstrong character. On the contrary: Their elegant physique often makes them look like miniature Arabian or Andalusian horses. Depending on their breeding, they can also resemble Quarter Horses. American Miniature Horses are very popular not only because of their particular appearance and their size, but also because of their friendly nature and the fact that they are oriented towards people. They mainly distinguish themselves by their friendly nature, they are eager to learn and quickly form bonds with people. While ponies are known to be stubborn, miniature horses are willing to work and sensitive. This makes them ideal as starter horses for small children. The pleasant little horses can teach them a lot about communication with and caring for animals. These dwarfs are also used as therapy horses. They are extremely patient, and they have a feeling for their human companions’ moods. In the USA and the UK, there are even cases of miniature horses guiding blind people.
As the name implies, the American Miniature Horses come from the USA. However, their origin lies in Europe. In the 17th century, they were kept at royal courts for the children to play with. But with wars and the gradual disappearance of many monarchies in Europe, the horses have declined in numbers. The breed was threatened by extinction. But a few of the horses were brought to America in the 19th century to be used in coal mines. The Americans continued breeding them. They crossbred them with Shetland Ponies, Hackney Ponies and Falabellas, and refined the breed with English thoroughbreds. The AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association) was founded in 1978 and became one of the largest breeding associations in the world. Since 1987, it is no longer permitted to crossbreed with other breeds.
According to the AMHA, American Miniature Horses may not exceed 86.5 centimetres / 34 inches (height at the withers). This is measured by the last mane hair of the withers. However, the competing association AMHR also allows horses of 96.5 centimetres / 38 inches in its B division. Despite their tiny size, a lot of emphasis is placed on the fact that the miniature ponies have a well-proportioned figure. Their head and neck should be in a well-balanced proportion to their body. In addition to a short back, a slender body with a muscular chest is also desired. They should have a wide forehead and the head should be straight to concave with large eyes and nostrils. These requirements make the American Miniature Horses’ body too delicate to be ridden. Depending on their size, they can carry a maximum of 30 kilogrammes. Instead, they are highly suitable as carriage horses for special, light-weight carriages and sulkies. They are also popular show horses. And there are also American Miniature Horses jumping and trail tournaments – only without riders. At the “AMHA World Show” in Texas, the elegant horses compete in no less than 180 different disciplines.