American Miniature Horses

by Susanne Risse [Hidden Trails] 08/09/2011

The result of nearly 400 years of selective breeding, historians tend to support the Miniature Horse breed as a derivative of many sources.  In prehistoric times small horse breeds were most likely the products of surviving harsh natural climates and limited feed.  Today, knowledge of genetics has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality.
The first mention of a small horse being imported into the United States was in 1888; and research shows little public awareness of true Miniatures until 1960.  Popular belief is that American Miniature horses utilized the blood of English and Dutch mine horses brought into this country in the 19th century and used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. The American Miniature Horse, as documented in the pedigrees of Miniatures today, also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony.  Throughout its colorful past, the Miniature Horse breed had been bred for pets, novelty, research, monetary gain, mining work, exhibition and royal gifts.


Size: No bigger than a large dog, they don't measure more than 34 inches at the withers, at the last hairs of the mane, American Miniature Horses are "miniature" versions of well-balanced horses, possessing confirmation characteristics found in most equine breeds. Miniature Horses can be found in a rainbow of colors and types with any color or marking pattern, and any eye color, is equally acceptable.

Personality: Eager to please, the American Miniature Horse makes a gentle and affectionate companion for individuals of any age or ability.
Versatility: Though petite, Miniature Horses are extremely versatile and excel in a variety of disciplines including driving, halter, jumping, obstacle and others. Since the breed objective is the smallest possible perfect horse, preference in judging shall be given the smaller horse, other characteristics being approximately equal.

Organizations and registration requirements:
There are two registries in the United States for Miniature Horses, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) and the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR).  The AMHA was founded in 1978 and was dedicated to establishing the Miniature horse as a distinct breed of horse. The AMHR is a division of the American Shetland pony Club and was established as a separate registry in 1972.In the AMHA, Miniatures cannot exceed 34 inches at the withers (which the AMHA defines as located at the last hair of the mane). There are two divisions in AMHR - the "A" division for horses 34 inches (86 cm) and under, and the "B" division for horses 34 to 38 inches (86 to 97 cm).
Worldwide, there are dozens of miniature horse registries. Some organizations emphasize breeding of miniatures with horse characteristics, others encourage minis to retain pony characteristics.
The AMHA standard suggests that if a person were to see a photograph of a miniature horse, without any size reference, it would be identical in characteristics, conformation, and proportion to a full-sized horse.
According to the AMHR, a "Miniature should be a small, sound, well-balanced horse and should give the impression of strength, agility and alertness. A Miniature should be eager and friendly but not skittish in disposition.

Information form this article was referenced from:

http://www.horsemart.co.uk/horse_advice/american_mini_wonders/1524 and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniature_horse

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