Scientific Name: Equus caballus
Some miniature domestic horses have been trained to be guide animals.
In the 18th century, miniature horses were used to pull carts in the coal mines in Northern Europe. The first herd of miniatures was brought to the U.S. in the 1930’s and used in the coal mines until the late 1950’s. They are very strong, hardy horses and can even pull multiple adults in a cart. Miniature horses cannot take a lot of weight on their backs.
STATUS: Not endangered.
HABITAT: Miniature domestic horses live in pastures and prefer sunshine and warm climates. When they are in colder climates they tend to grow a long, shaggy coat to keep warm. In the summer the long coat is shed to reveal a short, shiny coat underneath. They are usually provided with a barn or shed for shelter from the elements and a place to relax, sleep, or hide.
DIET: Prone to overeating, their diets need to be closely monitored. Miniature domestic horses like to graze on grass and hay. In captivity, these horses are usually fed a mixture of timothy pellets, grain, and hay.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: At birth, they usually weigh around 20 to 25 lbs. and stand 16” to 20” tall. To be considered a miniature horse the animal must be less than 34” inches tall. Their typical weight is 75-85 lbs. It takes them about four years before they reach their full height and weight. They can also come in a wide variety of colors and markings. Miniature domestic horses have a life span of 25 to 35 years.
Fit for a King
Miniature Horses were first bred in the 1600’s for Europe’s nobility. According to several records from the court of French King Louis XIV, several miniature horses were kept in his exotic animal zoo around 1650. They were also pampered pets of the young princes and princesses of the kingdom.