American Miniature Horse Myths Debunked

After the Shetland pony market collapse in the 1960’s, some savvy American Shetland breeders decided to totally re-package how they marketed their smallest Shetland ponies and call them “miniature horses.” In order to add mystique to this new pony, one of the first miniature horse breeders created a story about a herd of miniature horses he found wandering in a canyon. His tall tale worked and many people became enthralled with this small pony.

Miniature Horse Myths

Miniature horses are horses – not ponies

This myth has been dispelled for years but many breeders still refuse to believe that their miniature horses were bred from various breeds of ponies. Technically, any horse under 52″ is a pony and that includes miniature horses. The most influential breed used to produce miniature horses was the American Shetland pony. In fact the American Shetland Pony club was the first organization to offer registration of miniature horses by creating the American Miniature Horse Registry in 1977. One of the most famous miniature horses named “Boones Little Buckeroo” was sired by the famous American Shetland pony stallion Golds Melody Boy.

Miniatures are done growing when their tail hits the ground.

This myth has been around forever but has been proven untrue repeatedly. While you can estimate a horses age by the length of their tail, you cannot assume that a miniature horse is done growing when their tail hits the ground. I had one miniature mare that had a tail dragging the ground by age 3. She was 33″ at that time. By the age of 6 she had grown to 35″.

Miniature horses only need a handful of hay.

This is probably one of the most dangerous miniature horse myths. Although they are small they still require more than a handful of hay or grain to be healthy. I do believe this myth is why I see so many underweight or starving miniature horses. Young miniature horses especially need much more than a handful of hay to sustain their growing bodies.

Miniature horse stallions make great pets for kids.

This is so far from the truth and outright dangerous. Adults would never consider giving their young child a Quarter Horse stallion, but for some reason think a miniature horse stallion is okay. No matter what the size – a stallion is a stallion – and does not make a good pet for a child. Stallions are ruled by hormones and are unpredictable. A miniature horse gelding is a much more appropriate choice for a child.

Miniature horses can be kept with big horses.

This is a very controversial myth. While you can keep miniature horses with their full size cousins, you shouldn’t. Miniature horse’s heads are just at the right height to get kicked in the head by a big horse. So even if a big horse is just playing in the pasture, they accidentally kick the miniature in the head. I have too many emails of people that found out the hard way that the two don’t mix. While it may work for a while, eventually you may find a dead miniature horse in your pasture.

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