Equus caballus caballus american miniatureMiniature Horse

Family

  • Equidae

Lifespan

  • 30+ years

Size

  • Height:  36 inches or less at the withers (shoulder)
  • Weight:  150-250 pounds

Origin

  • These tiny equids descend from the same ancestor as standard horses, the wild horse (Tarpan). The tarpan became extinct in the early 1900's. The tarpans range was thought to include north eastern Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, extending through Mongolia.
  • There is conflicting data about where specifically this breed originated

Habitat

  • Ancient horses were found in short grasslands and desert scrubland

DietMiniature Horses

  • Wild:  Wild grasses
  • Zoo:  Alfalfa/Timothy hay mix and occasional horse treats

Reproduction

  • Young become sexually mature around 2 years of age. A single foal is born after a gestation period of 11 months. Foals may graze as early as one month old, but will not become fully weaned until 8-13 months old. A mature female is called a mare. An intact mature male is called a stallion or stud. Castrated males are known as geldings. Female young are fillies, while male young are colts. A juvenile of either sex may be called a foal.

Special adaptations

  • Modern horses (including their wild counterparts) have gone through many skeletal changes, including the fusion of several bones into one – the cannon bone. The cannon bone is a combination of several bones and is located in the horses’ leg.
  • Because of their high intelligence, small stature and long life spans, miniature horses have recently been incorporated in programs for leading the blind
  • Horses can turn their ears independently to capture sounds from all angles (and determine if predators are in the area). Their ears are specially shaped like a funnel to direct sounds where they can be interpreted best.

Facts/infoMiniature Horse

  • Horses are one of the least changed domestic species from its wild ancestor
  • Horse coats can come in several patterns and colors
  • Although horse hooves look big, they are essentially walking on the nail of one of their "fingers"
  • Unlike their wild ancestors, horses manes lay down on one side of their neck and do not shed annually
  • Miniature horses cannot support much weight for a rider, but can pull more than two times their weight!
  • Horses are social by nature and our two minis are extremely attached to each other – they will call to each other if they are ever separated

Conservation status

    • Domestic – not listed
    • There are 3 Equid species which are in need of protection
    • Przewalski's Horse (Mongolian Wild Horse)

 

  • African Wild Ass
  • Asiatic Wild Ass (Onager or Kulan)

 

Sources

  1. Feldhamer, George A. et al., Mammalogy: Adaptation, diversity, and ecology. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  2. American Miniature Horse Association. November, 2011 www.amha.org
  3. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  4. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012.  www.iucnredlist.org
Miniature Horses summer vs. winter coats