What is a miniature horse?

What is a miniature horse?

Most miniature horse breeders will take offense if you call their horses, ponies. I call all mine ponies because I am aware that the Shetland Pony was used in the making of the miniature horse. From the early 1600’s people have been choosing the smallest Shetland ponies and crossing them on small horses to develop the mini horse.

The miniature horse is in essence a height breed. The AMHA miniature horse can be no taller than 34″ at the last mane hair. This typically is not exactly at the withers. In fact it can be further down from the withers toward the back. The AMHR miniature horse can be no taller than 38″ at the last mane hair.

In the late 1800’s these little horses were imported to America from Europe. They weren’t well known until about 1960 as they were primarily used in Appalachian coal mines. In 1962 the first Falabella horses were imported into the US by the Regina Winery in California. They used the little stallions to pull a stagecoach in parades, promoting their winery.

“The Falabella horse was originally developed in Argentina from local horses of Criollo stock, beginning in 1868 with the breeding program of Patrick Newtall.” Wikipedia

Patrick Newtall’s son-in-law inherited the breeding farm when his father-in-law passed away. He added Welsh ponies, Shetland ponies and small Thoroughbreds to the breeding program and with careful inbreeding was able to get the size down below 40″.

I would say that most of the miniature horses today can be traced back to Shetland ponies and the Falabella. Often you will see an “Unknown” in a horse’s pedigree. That was common in the past to cover up the fact that the mini had Shetland in it’s pedigree. Instead they wanted people to believe they were exclusively bred down from big horses. Sometimes the “Unknown” means that they really don’t know who the parents of the little horse are. It was a common practice to hardship small enough ponies into the registries years ago. The rules for doing this have changed a bit over the years.

In fact people have used Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Welsh ponies to develop the miniature horse characteristics that we see today. Some of the most popular miniature horses today look a lot like the Arabian horse. The Arenosa bloodline (which is primarily American Shetland pony) is one of them. The Arenosa bred horses are tough to beat in the show ring! They have long legs, long necks and shorter backs – making them look more horse like than pony like.

Then you have the pony style miniature horse – shorter legs, thicker necks and longer backs. At the local shows I still see lots of minis like the ones below. I owned the 31″ tall gelding on the left for a few years and showed him locally! He was such a sweet boy and a wonderful driving mini, though he didn’t have the stamina that the larger minis have. The 32″ mare, Amber, on the right is still standing in the pasture at my mom’s. She is a wonderful mother and has had several very nice foals for us. She was never shown.

When bred to a leggier, more refined stallion the short legged, long bodied mares can make some beautiful foals!

The black and white stallion on the left is KLS Pistolero, an Arenosa bred stallion. The filly on the right is Chantilly, our filly out of Amber, above, and KLS Pistolero. I am using this to show how well thought out breeding can help take a short legged, long bodied horse and turn it into a long legged, long necked horse!

My minis fall in the middle of these two extremes. They are longer legged because they are the “B” sized minis, meaning they over 34″ tall. A few have nice necks and a few have short, thick necks.

Sky 36 1/2″ tall. She has a nice length of neck and it’s not heavy at all. She could have a shorter back and her legs could be a bit longer.

Bonnie is 38″ tall and has a thicker, heavier neck. It’s also a bit short. She has nice length of leg and when she’s not fat (as she is now) she looks very square. She reminds me of a little draft horse!

Zorro is also out of KLS Pistolero and Sky and is a half brother to Chantilly. He has a nice long neck and a short back. His legs are a nice length as well. Here he is pictured as a yearling. I can’t wait to see what he looks like as a two year old!

Years ago some breeders used Dwarf miniatures in their breeding programs to keep the size down. This is a little like playing Russian Roulette. Sometimes you’ll get a better version of the parents and sometimes you’ll get all the worst traits of the parents.

“In the miniature horse breed, dwarfism is estimated to be in over 50% of the population and affects all the miniature horse bloodlines.” – http://jcpminiatures.weebly.com/equine-dwarfism.html

There are some miniature horses that display a few dwarf characteristics but are not extreme enough to be pulled out of the breeding stock. We had a mare and stallion that when bred to each other produced a dwarf foal. We gelded the stallion and re-homed the mare as a pet. We were not willing to knowingly breed horses that produced a dwarf. This is totally a personal preference as there are many breeders out there breeding known dwarf carriers. They do this to keep the size down.

This is information that I dug up all over the internet. Some of it is my personal opinion and some is scientifically based. Hopefully I answered the question, “What is a miniature horse?”

Natural & Simple Hoof Oil

Natural & Simple Hoof Oil - Using Essential Oils

Natural & Simple Hoof Oil – Using Essential Oils

This is a wonderful, natural and simple hoof oil to condition your horse’s hoof wall. You can use it on the sole of the hoof as well, but not at the same time. In other words, either put the hoof oil on the outside of the hoof wall OR on the sole of the hoof. Putting any hoof conditioner/oil on both the hoof wall and the sole makes it so the hoof can’t breathe!

This oil would be great for horses with fine sand cracks, foundered horses or just plain sore footed horses. You can adjust the essential oils based on what you will be using it for.

Fine sand cracks –> Rosemary, Geranium, Copaiba, Tea Tree

Founder –> Cypress, PanAway,Helicrysum, Peppermint

Sore Footed –> Valor, Wintergreen, Lemongrass, Relieve It , Stress Away

Soften the coconut oil.

Soften the coconut oil.

Soften the coconut oil then mix in the vitamin E oil, Argan Oil or Witch Hazel, lastly add the essential oils and stir!

Coconut Hoof Oil

Coconut Hoof Oil

Harness Dreams

Harness Dreams

Harness Dreams

Oh I have so many harness dreams! Buying harness can get quite expensive. Over the years I’ve learned that trying to save money by purchasing the cheaper, lower quality harness just doesn’t work. They are not well made, don’t fit the minis well and typically are not even worth the little amount you’ll pay! So saving up and getting a good harness (or two or three!) will actually save you money.

I have always loved the Camptown Harness. I had one years ago that my main driving mare, Chamomile, wore. It was beautifully made, really a work of art. They have a saddle with a tree and the nice Deep V breast collar. Their bridles are well made and fit the minis tiny head perfectly.

The Camptown harness ($799) is a mix of leather and synthetic materials. It was my first synthetic harness. Cleaning it was a snap!

 

I have been looking at the Comfy Fit harness ($700) recently. I did purchase the Deep V collar from them and LOVE the quality. Their customer service is awesome! I do plan on getting one of their harnesses. It’s on my “To Buy” list. They have saddles with trees and a sliding back strap saddle. Their bridles are very well made and fit the miniature horse head perfectly!

 

Another harness – the next one that I will purchase- is from Patty’s Pony Place ($335). She makes nylon harness. I have never been a fan of nylon, but after reading about Patty’s harness and visiting with her on Facebook I have decided I am going to give it a try! I LOVE the color options and think this harness would be so fun for parades. I am going to get a Turquoise/Teal harness with black lining. I think that will look so nice with my black draft style collar. And I will be able to use my black leather driving bridle with it to mix things up as well! This harness has a saddle with a tree and Patty is willing to make me a sliding back strap. I like how well the harness is padded and the bridle fits the mini head very nicely!

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Patty’s Pony Place purple harness.

I am also going to purchase Patty’s newest design… a skijoring harness ($160 this includes rope driving lines) for miniature horses!

There are other even more expensive harnesses out there, but these are my top three favorites. I know that I can use the Comfy Fit harness for Combined driving, which is my ultimate dream/bucket list. It has been around for quite awhile so I know it’s a good quality harness that will stand the test of time!

My Driving Harness

My Driving Harness

My Driving Harness

Now that I have miniature horses again I have been getting my harness all ready for the more vigorous terrain of mountain driving. I’ve been purchasing parts and pieces that will make pulling a vehicle easier for my minis. As I’ve been shopping around for those pieces I have been dreaming about all the harnesses I would like to add to my tack room… but that’s for another post!

I am starting with a leather harness from Silver Penny Farms. I love brass so we bought our harnesses with brass fittings. This harness is actually my mom’s and was purchased many, many years ago. It’s about 13 years old now! It’s been well used and well loved and has many many more years of life left. That’s partly why I love leather! Some elbow grease and leather cleaner and walla! It looks new again!

I love the little bridle. It fits very well which can be a problem with the mini harnesses. We use a Kelly brand miniature horse bit. It’s a Myler knock off and not as nice as the real Myler bit, but about 1/4 of the cost. Years ago I had the real Myler bits and they were a work of art for sure!! As soon as this blog starts making me some money I will purchase the real deal once again. Not only does Myler make the bit miniature, the mouth piece is also much slimmer and more refined.

The Kelly does the job though. Many miniature horses have a low roof of the mouth, thereby necessitating a bit with a low port. Using a regular broken snaffle can cause all kinds of problems because when you put pressure on the reins, the bit will break in the middle and bang the mini in the roof of the mouth. The mullen mouth Kelly bit does not do that!

Kelly Mullen Mouth Bit

Kelly Mullen Mouth Bit

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My Driving Bridle

This little harness has served us very well over the years while driving on flat, level ground, back country roads and in parades. But now that I am going to be driving in the mountains over various terrain I need a saddle with a tree and sliding back strap. I have learned a lot about the different saddles out there and am very excited about getting one with the sliding back strap. The saddle I have now has the shaft loops attached to the saddle. So when the cart hits bumps, rocks and pot holes, the entire saddle will shift with the shafts and the weight in the cart. When using a sliding back strap, when the cart hits a bump then the shaft loops slide back and forth across the saddle absorbing the shock. I think that sounds like a wonderful idea! Also the sliding back strap was used when driving the two-wheeled vehicles. The solid saddle was designed for four-wheeled vehicles. So it only makes sense to use the proper equipment for the job at hand!

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Saddle, Attached Shaft Loop, Crupper

I have upgraded my breast collar from the straight, sewn-in-traces to a Deep V Comfy fit collar. This is the collar I had for my main driving mare years ago, though that was made by Camptown Harness

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Cammy in her Camptown Sport Harness. A beautiful harness, very comfortable and well made!

Comfy Fit Deep V Collar with Neck Strap and Martingale

Comfy Fit Deep V Collar with Neck Strap and Martingale

I prefer breast collars with the buckle in traces as they are more adjustable. The sewn on traces can only be adjusted at the cart and sometimes they are just too long or not quite long enough! I purchased my Deep V collar from Comfy Fit. I also had to purchase the neck strap and the martingale as all the pieces work together!

I just bought a used miniature horse draft collar. I wanted this for when I either build a sled or convert a hunting sled into a sled for the minis to pull. This will result in a lower draft of pull making the deep v breast collar not the right tool! The draft type collar will also make pulling through deep snow easier for my horse.

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Draft Collar and Buggy Hames from Chrysalis Acres

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Draft Collar Buckle

I wanted the buggy style hames, the kind without the balls that stick up. I don’t need anything for my lines to get tangled on! I like this collar because it has a buckle so I won’t have to slide the collar over my horse’s head. This will make her happy. She looks so cute in it!

Sky and the Draft Collar!

Sky and the Draft Collar!

My harness has a nice double hip strap and is wide enough to be comfortable even when going down hill. Breeching is very important when driving as it acts at the brakes of your vehicle.

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Sky in her old harness with the new Deep V collar. I can’t wait to see her in her new Draft collar!

As soon as I am healed up and given the green light by my Dr. I am going to start Sky in the travois again. I will be sharing lots of photos and video of that process. I am so excited for the snow to fly and my horses to take me sledding in the fields!

Equine First Aid Kit

Equine First Aid Kit

Equine First Aid Kit

I have a very basic and simple first aid kit for my horses. There are many places where you can find lists of things to include in your kit. Many are all inclusive. This list is short and sweet!

I bought an electrical bag with lots of pockets from Home Depot to hold all my first aid kit items. This makes it easy to grab and go when I’m traveling with my horses.

I filled my bag with:

My First Aid Kit

My First Aid Kit

firstaidkitessentialoils

My First Aid Kit Essential Oils

Diapers make a great wrap for those difficult spots – hocks & knees. I like to use white towels so I can see the dirt and/or blood that may be on an injury and then bleach them clean but rags work just as well. Vet wrap is obvious… As is Hydrogen Peroxide! I use the Saline solution as a wash for injuries and for eyes. Witch Hazel is wonderful for skin ailments. Mineral Oil and coconut are for tummy aches and to lubricate syringes. Syringes can be used as enemas or for giving medication orally. I like the roll on fly repellent and the swat because you can apply them right around the injury without getting them IN the injury. My little spray bottle is great for applying essential oils to the injury, inside the mouth or around the eyes.

Inside my first aid kit.

Tell me something that’s in your kit that I don’t have by commenting below… It may be something I need to add!!

Treating Cold Symptoms in Your Horse

Treating Cold Symptoms in Your Horse

Treating Cold Symptoms in Your Horse

The best treatment for a cold is to prevent getting one in the first place. But if your horse ends up coughing, having a runny nose and goopy eyes then you can use essential oils to help win the battle.

Antiviral essential oil, blends and supplements are very effective as preventative aids in avoiding colds as well as in helping the body’s defenses fight colds once an infection has started. -Essential Oil Desk Reference

Of course giving your horse a Raindrop Treatment is a wonderful way to boost their immune system. That is my go-to!

A list of some more specific oils that you can apply topically are:

Ravintsara: Great for lung infections, fighting viral infections, and the common cold.

Clove: An immune booster, provide relief from inflammation and stimulates blood circulation.

Cypress: This oil is a great oil for grounding, promotes healing and improves lung efficiency.

Hyssop: A great antiseptic agent, provides relief from spasms of respiratory systems and stimulates immune system.

Thieves: The Thieves blend is the most popular oil blend of Young Living. This oil boosts the immune system, can kill airborne bacteria, and helps combat the spread of germs.

Sacred Mountain: Excellent for the respiratory system, it’s great for grounding and is comforting and soothing.

Exodus II: Helps the body’s natural defense system and stimulates the immune system.

You can apply any two or three of these oils along the horse’s spine and also allow them to inhale them. Using diffusers in the barn is a great way to keep the oils in front of the horse all the time.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment below if you have any questions!

 

 

Cavallo CLB vs. Easyboot Mini

Cavallo CLB vs Easyboog Mini

Cavallo CLB vs Easyboot Mini

When I found out that Cavallo was making a hoof boot for miniature horses I was so excited!!! I knew I had to have a pair. They sent me some photos of the boot before it was available and I liked the look of it. My mom got me a pair for my birthday. (Well they are really for Sky- but you know what I’m saying!)

Cavallo introduces the Cute Little Boot

Cavallo introduces the Cute Little Boot

It’s a smaller boot than the Easyboot Miniature Horse Boot and has a lower profile. The Cavallo boot has drain holes in case you drive your mini through water. I like how the front of the boot looks, we’ll see how it holds up when climbing rocks and trekking through sage bushes.

The CLB's front closure.

The CLB’s front closure.

They are tiny. Looking at them I wasn’t sure they would fit my mare, Sky. But I tried them on and they do! They wouldn’t fit Bonnie’s more round hoof but Sky does have little feet. I think of all my minis, they would only fit Sky and Zorro – and not Zorro for long! They did say they will be coming out with a few more sizes in 2017… I will definitely need the next size up to give Sky a little more room. But these will work for now!

The bottoms are much different than the Easyboot. The Cavallo boot would not be suitable for slippery floors, such as hospital floors. They are a hard plastic. The Easyboot has a rubber sole, therefor I think they would be work on slippery surfaces.

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right.

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right.

Here they are from the side:

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo boot on the right

I like the low profile design of the Cavallo boot. It just looks sleeker than the Easyboot. I am concerned how it will be on grass however. The bottoms do seem quite slick! Time will tell and we will be putting lots of miles on both boots…

Easyboot on the left, Cavallo on the right

Back View: Easyboot on the left, Cavallo on the right

A couple photos of the fronts of the boots and how the closures work:

Cavallo boot front

Cavallo boot front and closure

Easyboot front and closure

Easyboot front and closure

Here’s my beautiful model Sky and her new boots!

The CLB's!

The CLB’s!

Sky and her CLB's.

Sky and her CLB’s.