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Horses Have Dichromatic Vision

You may think of horses as only being able to see in black and white. However, like dogs, horses have dichromatic vision, meaning they can see blues and greens on the color spectrum, but not reds. 

Humans have trichromatic vision, which allows us to see more colors. 

Foals Gestate for 11 Months

If you think going through nine months of pregnancy is tough, try 11! 

The average mare carries her foal anywhere between 320 and 362 days. Ponies will often have shorter gestation than full-sized horses, but every mare is unique. 

Horse Teeth Continuously Grow

Unlike human teeth, horses have teeth that continuously grow throughout their life. While grazing and eating hay helps keep them worn down, most domestic horses need to have their teeth floated a couple times a year. 

Teeth floating involves a veterinarian filing down uneven, overgrown and sharp places on teeth, so a horse can eat properly. A horse that needs their teeth floated may have trouble chewing and even sometimes drop food from their mouth while chewing.

Everything You Want to Know About Miniature Horses

If you want to make something cuter, just make it smaller. Miniature horses are like the dachshunds of the equine world, and they can be a great choice for families just getting into horses. 

That said, they're still a lot more complicated to own than a dog. Before bringing one home, here are a few facts to keep in mind.

Miniature Horses Are Not Ponies

Ponies, horses, what's the difference? Ponies have a different build than horses. Some of them can be as small as miniature horses, but their structure will look a lot different. Ponies are heavily-built, with short, stocky legs and thick necks.

Miniature horses, on the other hand, have the same proportions as full-sized horses, only smaller. They're like mini replicas of regular horses, whereas ponies have a distinct set of features all their own.

These Exiguous Equines Have Been Around for Centuries

The miniature horse isn't a modern-day invention. Mini horses were developed over several centuries, dating all the way back to Europe in the 1600s. They were prized for their ability to fit into smaller spaces than ordinary horses, proving themselves to be highly useful for work in mining.

They were also popular because of how adorable they were. Hundreds of years later, and their tiny lil' legs still make us want to adopt 10 of them.

Unlike Horses, They're Measured in Inches Instead of Hands

Horses are usually measured in hands, with one hand equaling 4 inches. A horse measuring 17 hands is 5-feet-8 at the withers, which is the highest point of its shoulder.

Miniature horses, however, are measured in inches. To be considered a miniature horse, they should stay under 3-feet tall or technically 34 inches if you're being strict about it. That's smaller than the average kindergartener.

There Are Several Breeds of Miniature Horses

The American miniature horse is the most common breed of mini horse, but it's not the only one. The Falabella horse was the first breed of miniature horse, originating in Argentina.

Falabella breeders take their work extremely seriously, so Falabellas usually have cleaner bloodlines and are more expensive. You can find them anywhere, but they're harder to come by than American miniatures.

Getting a Mini Horse Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

The cost of a miniature horse is the least of your worries. If you just want a cute companion, you can buy an adult miniature horse for just a few hundred dollars. If you're looking for a purebred or show-quality animal, the prices are much higher.

Typically, they start around $1,000, with promising foals soaring into the tens of thousands of dollars. Even then, it's the care of a miniature horse that gets really expensive.

Minis Are a Great Option for Horse Lovers Short on Space, but Care Costs Add Up

Miniature horses are less expensive to keep than large ones, but a horse is a horse. Miniature horses have all the care requirements of larger horses, only on a smaller scale. They need:

  • At least a quarter of an acre of space, preferably a half acre or more 

  • A sturdy fence to keep them in (and predators out)

  • A barn

  • Hay, grass and rolled oats, and lots of them

  • Regular grooming

  • A farrier to maint

  • ain their hooves

  • Regular visits from the vet

If they're kept on your own property, care costs are usually around $150 per month, depending on your location. If you have your miniature horse boarded instead, prices start at around $300 per month, depending on whether you handle their daily care yourself or not. 

They Live a Really, Really Long Time

Horses live a long time to begin with, averaging a lifespan of around 25 to 30 years. Miniature horses, however, can live much, much longer.

Some mini horses have lived for nearly 50 years. Adopt one in your 30s, and you could have a companion practically for life. 

If You Let Them, Mini Horses Would Eat Breakfast Cereal

Plus candy, cookies and even soda. They're basically kindergarteners with hooves.

Instead of giving them people treats, the occasional apple or carrot is much better for them. Compared to hay, grass and grains, however, these foods are still high in sugar and should be offered in moderation.  

Miniature Horses Are Prone to Becoming Overweight

Miniature horses don't need to eat nearly as much as larger horse breeds. It's not just because of their size, either. They evolved from the Shetland Islands, which are known for having sparse vegetation. They adapted to metabolize food highly efficiently.

In the wild, this allowed them to survive, but in captivity, it's easy for mini horses to become overweight or obese. They should never be given people food, and some even need special muzzles to make them eat more slowly, keeping their weight in check.

They’re Not as Mini as You Might Think

Miniature horses have a mixed heritage, so their size and appearance vary widely. They're much smaller than standard horses, but they're not pocket pets by any means.

Miniature horses weigh between 150 and 250 pounds when fully grown, so they're still not the kind of pet you can toss in the trunk for a vet visit. Still, considering most horses weigh upwards of 800 pounds, miniature horses are lightweights.

Miniature Horses Come in Tons of Colors

In addition to size variability, their mixed roots result in tons of color variations. Most horse breeds come in just a few colors, but that's not the case for mini horses. They can come in almost any color, from solid black, chestnut, white and bay to striking, patterned variations. Think champagne, perlino, pinto and cremello.

There's even a leopard-spotted version that resembles an appaloosa horse. 

Mini Horses Have an Undeserved Reputation for Being Mean

A rumor has been circulating that mini horses are unfriendly or snippy, but that's far from the truth. Miniature horses are friendly, curious and gentle creatures that can be ideal companion pets for the right owners. They all have their own personalities, with some having more attitude or stubborn streaks than others, but their normal disposition is very sweet.

So, where did their bad reputation come from? Due to their small size, miniature horses are popular candidates for use in petting zoos and other animal attractions. Kids and people with minimal horse experience can startle them, pet them too roughly or simply feed them the wrong way. Doing so is a surefire way to get nipped or kicked, leading to the impression that mini horses are aggressive. They're not. As long as you respect a mini horse and treat them with kindness, they'll return the favor.

They Play Well With Others

If you have other pets, especially dogs or other horses, your mini horse will be thrilled. Miniature horses are very social, and they're excellent companions for other livestock. Goats and sheep can even adopt mini horses as one of their own. 

Cats and dogs that grow up with mini horses can form life-long friendships. As long as introductions are done gradually, mini horses adapt well to sharing a pasture with almost anyone.

Some Even Become Therapy Horses

Miniature horses are so sweet that they're used in numerous therapy settings. Their small size means they're less intimidating for small kids, and they're the perfect size for people in wheelchairs to feed and brush.

They're often included in animal-assisted therapy projects for kids with disabilities, and some organizations even take them to senior centers or hospitals to cheer up the residents. 

They are even trained to be service animals.  Some blind people do very well with a miniture horse, especially if they're afraid or allergic to dogs.

Participating in Sports With Your Miniature Horse Is Another Option

Mini horses are too small for all but the tiniest of tots to ride, but that doesn't mean they're wimps. They can pull small carts or bigger carts in pairs, compete in horse shows and even learn agility tricks like a dog.

And look how fun the training process is!

Miniature Horses Need Daily Grooming

Their routine includes getting their entire coat brushed to remove dust and debris, a thorough combing of their mane and tail, and the removal of pebbles and mud from their hooves.

Occasionally, they also appreciate a more thorough bath using gentle soap and water.

Horse Hair Stylists Are a Thing!

Anyone who decides to show their miniature horse should consider treating them to a deluxe equine spa day.

Horse hair stylists clean, cut and style the manes and tails of show horses.

Miniature Horses Are Pregnant for 11 Months

Mare mares are usually ready to foal when they're around four or five.  When mini horses are born, they're small enough to carry around like a puppy. On average, miniature horse foals weigh 20 pounds and range from 16 to 21 inches in height. 

Some Miniature Horses Have More Instagram Followers Than You

No, we're not kidding. Patrick the mini horse has a bio that sounds more appealing than most Tinder profiles. He's 28, an Equine Ambassador, a registered therapy horse and a model for Breyer. He also has over 26,000 followers. 

Princess  the mini horse has over 9,000, and her braids give Elsa a run for her money.

History

Miniature horses originated in Europe, where there is written and iconographic documentation of them from the late eighteenth century. In the first half of the twentieth century small horses were bred in England by Lady Estella Mary Hope and her sister Lady Dorothea.

The Falabella was developed in Argentina in the mid-1800s by Patrick Newtall. When Newtall died, the herd and breeding methods were passed to his son-in-law, Juan Falabella. Juan added additional bloodlines including the Welsh PonyShetland pony, and small Thoroughbreds. With considerable inbreeding he was able to gain consistently small size within the herd.

The South African Miniature Horse was bred in South Africa from about 1945, when Wynand de Wet of Lindley began selective breeding of Shetland stock. In 2011 there were about 700 of the horses in the country. Morphology is variable: some have an Arab appearance, while others have the conformation of a draft horse. A breed association was established in 1984, and in 1989 the South African Miniature was recognized by the national South African Stud Book and Livestock Improvement Association.

Hardiness and Health

Their pre-disposition to disease is markedly different from that of full-sized horses. They are only rarely affected by ailments such as laryngeal hemiplegiaosteochondrosis or navicular disease, all of which are common in larger horses, but are much more likely to develop other illnesses rare in large horses, such as hyperlipaemia – which may lead to hepatic lipidosis – or eclampsia.  Dental misalignment and overcrowding are more common than in larger horses: brachygnathism ('parrot mouth') and prognathism ('sow mouth') are often seen;[  retention of caps can occur, as can infection of the sinuses associated with tooth eruption.[8]: 55  Poor mastication can contribute to an increased incidence of colic caused by enterolithsfaecoliths, or sand.

Horse Facts

A horse is this magical creature that humans domesticated more than 6,000 years ago. Here are some facts about horses that you may or may not know. 

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