American Miniature Horse

The American Miniature Horse is an elegant large horse in miniature, noble, and perfectly proportioned, but hardly larger than a stately dog ​​- the American Miniature Horse is an expressive pony breed whose special appeal is due to the unique combination of small height and noble appearance is determined. You can find out everything about the American Miniature Horse in this article

Breeding History of the American Miniature Horse


Widespread today, especially in the USA, the roots of the elegant miniature horses originally lie in Europe. As historical sources show, ponies were kept at the European royal courts in the 17th century and were often used as riding horses for the aristocratic offspring.

Due to wars, however, their stock was to be reduced to such an extent that only a few miniature horses remained due to exports overseas. There they were first mentioned in writing in 1888 and continued to be bred in the course of crossing Shetland and Hackney ponies as well as Falabellas. Except for its use as a mini horse in the coal mines of the Appalachia, the American Miniature Horse received little public attention until the 1960s.

An upswing in breeding finally came with the publication of the first studbook in 1970 and with the founding of the American breed association, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA), which came into being in 1978. Last but not least, it is thanks to this association and its clear breed standards that miniature horses are one of the largest breeds in North America today.

In the meantime, the miniature horses had fallen into oblivion in Europe until they were imported again in 1976 and shown as an attraction at the Equitana in Essen. Since then, breeding has progressed mainly in Denmark, France, Great Britain, and Belgium, while in Germany only a few breeders initially devoted themselves to the remarkable breed.

The American Miniature Horse has only been officially recognized as a breed in this country since 2003, along with the entry of the first mares in the studbook of the Bavarian Breeding Association for small horses and special horse breeds. 

The corresponding papers from the AMHA are always required for entry in German studbooks. Irrespective of this, the miniature horses are sufficiently well represented in both America and Europe today and are very popular as children's ponies in the area of ​​leisure riding. In the meantime, the miniature horses of Division B of the competition association AMHR are recognized in Germany.


Breeding methodology & refinement


Both the AMHA and the AMHR studbook are closed. Since then, the American Miniature Horse has been bred exclusively as purebreds, which disallows the introduction of foreign blood by finisher breeds. Therefore, only foals that come from an already registered mark and a registered stallion are allowed to be registered. Additional blood tests have been carried out since 1995 to check the impeccable ancestry and to ensure pure bloodlines.

Even though both studbooks are closed, there is the possibility of " hard shipping ". Horses - regardless of their ancestry and even without papers - can be entered in the AMHA studbook. For registration, the horse must be measured by a Regional Director or at an AMHA-recognized show. The horse must meet the AMHA Standard of Perfection. A DNA test is also required.

To be entered in the AMHR studbook, horses must have AMHR registered parents. AMHA registered horses can also be registered through hard shipping. However, horses that belong to another breed or do not have papers cannot be registered in this studbook.

Concerning the breeding goal, the breed standard of the American Miniature Horse provides for an elegant pony that is as small as possible but still has a delicate and balanced physique. Like a miniature Arab, the horses should be characterized by good gait and perfect proportions.

At the same time, a horse character that is as patient as it is willing to work and people-friendly are desired. A noble horse in miniature design - the American Miniature Horse should be optimally built and in no way inferior to large horse breeds, but have a small size.





The American Miniature Horse is a breed of horse bred to be short in stature. The size of a miniature horse is not measured by the withers, but by the last hair of the mane. American Miniature Horses, which are registered with the AMHA (American Miniature Horses Association), must not measure more than 86 cm (34 inches) when fully grown. The AMHR (American Miniature Horse Registry) divides horses into two divisions. Division A is for miniature horses measuring 86 cm (34 inches) or less. Division B, on the other hand, is for miniature horses that must be 97 cm (38 inches) or less when fully grown.



The small head of the American Miniature Horse, which is proportional to the neck and body, appears elegant and is given a striking expressiveness by the broad forehead and intensively looking eyes. Slightly concave or straight in profile, it shows itself with large nostrils, a fine muzzle, and medium-sized, pointed ears. The flexible neck blends harmoniously with the withers.


The body is well proportioned and muscular, with a short, straight back, long and sloping shoulders, and a well-formed croup. What is also remarkable about the American Miniature Horse is the dry, rectangular-looking foundation, which is characterized by parallel, short legs.


fur and coloring

Whether bay, piebald or fox, the coat coloration of the American Miniature Horse is extremely diverse because all colors are represented. The same applies to the drawings, which often make the mini horses appear very colorful.


Basic gaits / movements / sequence of movements

Freely swinging and elastic, the movement is very committed with a visible cadence and plenty of shoulder freedom. The basic gaits of the American Miniature Horse are always rhythmic and harmonious.


Impressions of the horse breed



Uncomplicated and enthusiastic - the American Miniature Horse is a reliable pony that is particularly suitable as a riding partner for children thanks to its sociable and friendly nature. Patient in behavior, the mini horses prove to be very attentive, docile, and eager to work.

The miniature horses radiate athleticism, are considered curious, gentle, intelligent, but above all reasonable and willing to cooperate. It is these characteristics that make them ideal for use as therapy horses. But these ponies are also the ideal partners in front of the carriage, as they are people-related and docile, but above all, they are particularly attentive. Fun and a close friendship are guaranteed with an American Miniature Horse!


Use of the American Miniature Horse

Due to its small size and sociable character, the American Miniature Horse is mainly used as a family and children's pony and as a beginner's horse for young riders. In addition to the area of ​​​​hobby riding, the miniature horses are also suitable for show and event purposes due to their elegant appearance. In addition, the American Miniature Horse is used as a driving horse in front of carriages and as a therapy horse.

Peculiarities of American Miniature Horse Horses


Although there is often a prejudice that miniature horses are susceptible to diseases, the American Miniature Horse is just as robust in health as large horses. With appropriate care and species-appropriate husbandry, it can reach an impressive age of up to 30 years.


The special feature of this breed is its appearance. The miniature horses do not look like the classic pony but convince with their elegant, sporty physique resembling the Arabian or Andalusian in combination with their small size. Whether riding, driving (carriage and sulky), as a therapy horse, or for circus lessons: the miniature horse is in no way inferior to its larger conspecifics and can be used in almost all areas without any problems thanks to its good-natured character.


Typical (hereditary) diseases of American Miniature Horses

This breed, with good care and feeding, is not very susceptible to diseases. They belong to the robust and undemanding horse breeds. Nevertheless, the AMHA (The American Miniature Horse Association) refers to dwarfism (dwarfism gene), which is not uncommon in American Miniature Horses. Horses with at least two traits of dwarfism will not be registered with the AMHA. These features include, for example:


      §  Legs that are too short (which stops bone growth) – club feet, cow hocks, and buck  knees are often a problem as they can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis, but also disability

           §  misaligned molars (monkey bite and bulldog are popular terms for this)

           §  Head is significantly longer than neck

           §  Scoliosis or other abnormalities of the vertebrae

           §  Mental disabilities, which can also occur with depression and severe pain

What is the difference between AMHA and AMHR?

The AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association) is one of the largest breeding associations. Only horses up to 86 cm tall can be registered there. The AMHR (American Miniature Horse Registry) is similar to the AMHA. Horses that are too big for the AMHA studbook can be registered with her. An oversized American Miniature Horse therefore only has AMHR papers.

Known horses of the breed

Among the most famous of her breed is Thumbelina. The mare is only 44.5 cm tall


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