Mini horses are indeed
remarkable animals. They are
very intelligent and playful and
they can live in your backyard
and enter your house. Standing
only those less than 34 inches
at the shoulder, they are
gentle and small enough for
kids and the elderly to handle.
They can perform in shows and
are great for children in the
How To Care For Your Mini horse
If you pasture your mini horse there are a few things you must watch for. In the late summer, may
pastures have turned to dry, cracked mud and lots of flies. Your mini will stomp to try and rid his itchy body of flies. The ground is probably uneven and he may get hoof bruises and cracks. Both of these conditions invite bacterial infection. Soles may also get bruised and the uneven terrain may also bruise soles and increase the risk of sprain, strain, and tendinitis.
A damp, swampy pasture or areas of high humidity can cause the hoof to expand creating gaps at the
junction of the hoof wall and sole. If you have a small pasture with many miniature horses, they may be standing in deep manure at certain points. Parasites and bacteria will thrive under these conditions.
Frequently clean the manure from the hoofs using a hoof pick on a regular basis. Check the hoof wall
and sole, also called the frog, to check for stones or matted plant material. If you see black spots
that are sensitive to pressure, these are puncture wounds that need treatment.
Your veterinarian will probe to explore the hoof, sole, frog, and heel with fingers and a hoof tester to
locate the point of entry of the object causing the puncture. The vet may also scrape or “pare out” the wound. You can soak the hoof in a warm Epsom salt solution an hydrogen peroxide to keep it open and allow drainage until it heals.
Conformation and Foot Care
Conformation plays an incredibly large part in lameness. Some mini horses with fiat or thin soles, worn
heels, or thin, weak walls are susceptible to hoof injury. Miniature horses with upright pasterns--i.e.:
not enough angle from heel to hoof, contracted tendons, or knee deformities--are also particularly
prone to further damage to foot and hoof.
Regular visits by your farrier are important, especially in mini horses that have conformational faults
such as, contracted tendons or other structural defects that cause excessive damage to the hoof.
Nutrition and Health
Nutrition plays a large role in preventing foot injuries and lameness. The amount of grain, roughage,
vitamins and minerals given to your mini horse should be tailored to his pattern of exercise.
Lameness problems can be prevented by giving your mini adequate levels of electrolytes, such as
potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride, as well as biotin, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Fresh water should always be available year round. However, if they have just finished a hard
exercise, they should not be allowed to drink until they have cooled down to avoid lameness, muscular
or colic problems.
Exercise and Health
Regular exercise is essential. If summer temperatures reach 100 degrees and it is also humid,
miniature horses should not be exercise or they will sweat excessively. Sweating excessively can
cause muscle strain, sprain, tying up, heat prostration, and simple exhaustion.
Why Have A Mini Horse Instead of a Standard-sized Horse?
Because a miniature horse eats little, will fit into a small area, and take less money to maintain, yet they have the same beauty, elegance and nobility of their larger cousins.
Miniature horses are strong enough to easily pull an adult in a cart, and small children can ride them. They have a fondness for people, require less pasture and living space and they seldom need shoes.
They're smart and have wonderful, calm personalities.
Some buyers let them stay in the house. Others let them romp in the backyard with the family dog. People with disabilities have been buying them as fast as they are born; as guides for the blind, to calm children with autism, and give hope to
cancer victims. Natives dangle Cherokee jewelry from the saddle for protection.
Miniature horses love people, become attached to their owners, and are very easy to train. Senior citizens find them to be great companions and easy to handle. Anyone from the age of 3 and up can
work with them. They are wonderful to interact with, and they will keep your backyard grass short.
Also called a mini horse, they are becoming big business. Recognition of expanded uses for the miniature horse
caused the demand for these beautiful, tiny, but willing animals to skyrocket. Small Business Magazine stated that the miniature horse enterprise is a business that can withstand recession, can respond to small yards and busy families, and the startup costs are small.
How and Why Was the Miniature Horse Developed?
The Falabella mini horse was developed in Argentina and was imported into California in 1962, and today, most miniature horses have some Falabella blood. In 1845, an Irish horse trader named Patrick Newtall traveled south of Buenos Aires, Argentina where he discovered a herd of unusually small horses
grazing among the meadow-lands. The Pampas Indians could not be precise about these horses' origin, but the mini horse had lived among their herds of Croillo horses for years.
Newtall acquired several of these mini horses from the Indians and began a breeding program. His son-in-law, Juan Falabella, added European Thoroughbred blood lines to their mini horse breeding plan for refinement and beauty.
Interestingly, Juan Falabella had included in his herd some Shetland horse specimens from the English and Belgian or small Dutch horse, which were already smaller by selection. By the turn of the century,
through successive crossings Juan Falabella was able to develop a miniature horse of good conformation with heights under 33.5 inches.
In 1927, Juan's grandson, Julio Cesar Falabella, had a herd of several hundred miniature horses all descended from his grandfather's heard. He gained considerable publicity in 1962 when he sold a pair of Falabella horses to President Kennedy's family.
John Aleno owned a farm adjoining the Establecimientos Falabella, the name of the famous mini horse ranch first started by Newtall. Aleno had admired the flashy, tiny miniature horse that had been refined through careful breeding by Newtall's son-in-law, Juan Falabella.
Aleno became good friends with Julio, the grandson of Juan Falabella who had a small miniature horse
herd from his grandfather's stock. Aleno persuaded Julio Falabella to sell him a few of the mini horses around 1900 and he began to breed them even smaller and flashier. Aleno's mini horse was more popular because of its smaller size. Children especially loved these tiny horses.
In 1962, John Aleno sold 12 miniature horse stallions to the Regina Winery in Etiwanda, California. The winery was interested in the minis as a promotional gimmick. Nearly all U.S. Falabella mini horses descend from these 12 California stallions, and nearly all minis have some Falabella blood.
Among the mini horses imported into California for the winery was a Falabella stallion named "Chianti." This magnificent leopard appaloosa stallion became one of the most famous miniature horse stallions in the country, and his name is found on the pedigree of many miniature horses today.
The team of Falabella mini stallions from the winery was used to advertise Regina wines by pulling a stagecoach in parades bearing the Winery’s crest. You can see them in the photo above. The beautiful, spotted mini horse team from Etiwanda were seen in many parades pulling a scaled down stagecoach bearing the Etiwanda Winery’s crest. The mini stagecoach pulled by a mini horse team was seen by all visitors who came to the winery.
They were paraded as main events in shows and fairs, such as the Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA,
The National Orange Show in San Bernardino, CA, and the California State Fair in Sacramento, CA.,becoming a favorite breed type for California miniature horse ranchers, today.
When Aleno died, a bank took over his mini horse herd as part of the estate. They were subsequently sold to a Mr. Fuller who had 600 acres of land in Running Springs, California. Fuller had the idea of turning his land into a recreation area, incorporating these tiny horses into the park.
Unfortunately, some barriers were encountered when permission was needed to build an access road through government land. Their dream of having a recreational park was impossible, so the Fullers sold their pure Falabella miniature horse herd, which was dispersed across the U.S. making the mini horse one of the most popular of the small horse breeds.
Above: A Mini Horse is Running With a Standard
Many older horse lovers have switched to miniature horses
because of the fear of injury and long-term recovery issues.
People with disabilities can freely take miniature horses
everywhere. The U.S. Department of Justice has declared that
specially trained miniature horses qualify as service animals
under the ADA.