The great thing about horses is that they come in all different colors and sizes – there’s a horse for everyone. Smaller horses may not be big enough to ride, but there are other uses for them, even just as companions. Can you imagine? Having a horse, the size of a dog that you can literally pick up and snuggle? These half-pint horse breeds may just be the cutest thing on the planet with fascinating backgrounds to match.
Thumbelina, the Smallest Horse in the World
Miniature horses are, by nature, quite small. Thumbelina manages to be even smaller. Standing at 17 in (43 cm), this little mare earned a Guinness World Record for smallest horse alive. Her extremely small stature is due to a physical condition called dwarfism. As in other species, dwarfism makes her exceptionally small, even among others of her breed, although it does come with a price.
Fortunately, in spite of some conformation issues and her small size, she is quite healthy and relatively sound. Thumbelina goes on tours around the U.S., and has even met Big Jake, the world’s tallest living horse.
Shetland Pony Horse
Small ponies existed in the Shetland Isles of Scotland as far back as the Bronze Age. Crossbred with Norse and Celtic horses, these animals endured the harsh climates and conditions of the isles for centuries.
Today, the Shetland Pony keeps all of its strengths. The Shetland Pony is often considered the strongest breed of horse in the world, as it’s capable of carrying enormous weighs in proportion to its size — sometimes twice as much as their own weight. This makes it proportionally stronger than many draft horses, even though it’s one of the smallest horse breeds in the world. Shetlands have two standard sizes, with a maximum height of 42 in (104 cm).
The Miniature Horse delivers on its name and is one of the smallest horse breeds in the world. Standing at roughly 86 – 97 cm (34 – 38 in), the Miniature Horse is very popular around the world.
Small though they are, these ponies have a quite long history. Their size does come with a price, as it causes difficulties in breeding and can lead to overbites and underbites (due to the small size of their jaws, compared to the same number of teeth). Another risk is overfeeding. This is a serious risk, as combined with dental issues, it may cause colic — every horse owner’s nightmare.
In spite of their sizes, Miniature Horses are horses and have all the instincts and issues a normal-sized horse has.
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