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WORLD CLASS MINIATURE HORSE REGISTRY, INC.
          
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Registering Miniature Horses all over the World since 1995

 ABC's of Miniature Horses About, Breeding, and Care 
 

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 Golden Palomino in Full Coat omin                                    Same Miniature Clipped Clipped has a cream color

         About
The exact origin of the miniature horse is often a matter of speculation.
      Many people believe that the first miniature horses were a result of the very  small icelandic horse that is said to be very small in stature because of the very cold  and harsh weather in Iceland.  There coats are naturally very thick to protect them from the elements.
      Many of the miniature horses in the United States and in other countries grow very heavy coats that require that they be clipped in the Spring.  However, most miniature horses by the age of two or three shed off their coats naturally when the months become warmer and have the same shiny coat as a full size horse.

     Miniature Horses were said to have been bred in Europe to become pets of the children of Royalty.  
     Miniature Horses were supposedly first used or bred in the United States  to be used to pull coal from the  mines because of their very stout conformation and ability to pull loads many times their own weight.
      Moorman Field of Bedford, Virginia is accredited by many as being the first true breeder of miniature horses in America.
      According to his son, Tom Field, Moorman bought many of the tiniest horses or "pit ponies" as they were called, when the mines when to automation and began breeding them down to a miniature size.  Moorman also brought imported
miniatures from Holland because of the unique colorations.  Today, miniature horses most likely have the widest color variation of any equine breed.  There are Pintos and Appaloosas, as well as solid colors that include Buckskin, Chestnut,
Palomino, Grey, Sorrel, Black, White, Duns, Roans, and Bay.  Silver Dapples are also very evident in the miniature horse breed.

     McCoy Smith of West Virginia was also a widely acclaimed early miniature horse breeder.

     J. C. Williams of Dell Tera Miniature Horses in South Carolina as well as many other significant American Breeders of Miniature  Horses often brought imported miniature horses into the United States to enhance their breeding programs. Their farms are  well-known  throughout the world as the producers of the some of the finest and smallest miniature horses ever bred in the United States.

     The Falabella Miniature Horse of Argentina may well hold the most prominent place of miniature horse recognition because of the  early concentration of breeding a miniature horse that was a true counterpart of a full-sized, very refined horse.  Highly-Prized Falabella Miniature Horses have been shipped all over the World!
 


The coal-carrying  days are over and now and the much more refined miniature horses often enjoy being driven with pleasure carts,  roadsters, and even racing sulkies.
           

    Mature miniature horses that are at least 3 years of age and are under 34" are considered "A" Division Miniature Horses, and those that are over 34" up to and including 38" are considered
"B" Division Miniature Horses.

    Miniature Horses are often shown in teams and participate in many events including parades. Even Santa Claus may be seen
 driving a team of Miniatures in a
Christmas Parade.

     Only very small children, that weigh 40 pounds or less should ride an "A" Division Miniature Horse, while a taller, and usually  more muscular, "B" Division Mini can usually carry 60-80 pounds.  The child's weight and height as well as the age, height, and conformation of the mini should always be a consideration when training or riding a miniature horse.  

     Many youths that ride  have graduated to a Show Pony (over 38" up to and including 48");  sometimes thought of as an  oversized "B" Mini, that often has the quiet gentle temperment of a miniature horse but is closer to a pony size.
 Often, Parents and Guardians prefer this size to a larger pony for a small child.

A number of pintos and appaloosas have been bred down to the Miniature Horse -Size from the Show Pony-Type.

 

 

     Breeding and Care
     Stallions are generally able to bred at the age of 2 year, however, most Stallions should be at least 3 or 4 before being introduced as a small herd stallion.  A good herd stallion is often one that is 5 years of age or older.  Breeders should always consider the temperment of the Stallion when outlining a breeding program.  The height and conformation of the Stallion are often the first consideration,
 the previous offspring should be a factor in determining the quality of his get, color producing may be important to the breeder, and the offspring of the Stallion's Pedigree if known should be considered as well.

     Mares should be 3 years of age or older before producing.  The same considerations mentioned above apply to the Mare.
     It may be the mare, not the stallion, in many cases that determines the height and  conformation of the foal.  A good miniature horse breeder maintains accurate records of the Get of Sires and Produce of Dams to determine which Stallions and Mares should be used in the breeding program.  Not all mares and not all stallions are suitable for breeding.

Good Quality hay  (alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, etc.) and feed are necessary to produce the best miniature horses.   Breeding miniature  horses requires a substantial investment as well as the breeder's time, especially during foaling season; which is usually March-June, depending
upon the climate and location.  The natural breeding season seems to be tied to the hours of daylight and as they days become longer and
 brighter, the chances for successfully breeding miniature horses increases.

     Some breeders may use heated barns and artificial lights to prolong the breeding season.

      Mares should be properly vaccinated to protect themselves and their foals.  Check with your vet to arrange the proper schedule.  
A good worming program is also crucial to maintain all healthy miniature horses, but especially, mares that are foaling, and the young foal after it is 1 month old.  Many Vets recommend that the foal be wormed at one month of age and every month thereafter
for the first year. Do not worm a young foal with ivermectrin. Alternate worming products in order to prevent a resistance to a particular wormer. Products containing ivermectrin
 are usually recommended to be used at least twice a year, after the first frost and in the Spring. Ivermectrin is the wormer used to kill bots (those little yellow dots stuck on the horse, especially on legs are bot eggs and can be injested by the  horse and result in serious damage).

It is advisable to use a very mild wormer for the first time when worming a foal because if a strong product is used, too many
parasites may be killed at one time and can cause immediate danger to the foal. There is a product on the market that is only  necessary to use every 6 months but it could be very hazardous to a foal.

It is crucial that the foal receive clostrum from its Dam, usually within the first 12 hours after birth.  If the foal has not nursed or if it is obvious that the Mare has no milk or clostrum, call your vet immediately.  Steps can be taken to  insure that the foal receives the proper protection, but it t be done while the foal is still susceptible to accepting colostrum.  

 

 

     There are clostrum replacements on the market today that can be administered to the foal by iv or orally.  A plasma transfer  that can supply the newborn foal with antibodies can be performed if the foal is 12 hours or older and has not received adequate  colostrum from its Dam.   It is far better to be on hand when the foal is born to make first-hand observations and to take the necessary  steps if required.   A foal is usually up and nursing within the first 2 hours.  The Foal often begins to struggle to its feet within 10-15 minutes after birth. Most births are without incidence, and are extremely rewarding to everyone concerned.  It is always best to be prepared, just in case, that 1-10% strikes.

Making certain that the foal emerges from the "bag" may well be one of most common problem with newborns.  
Some people equate tough bags that cannot be broken during birth with fescue grass that contains the endophyte fungus.
 It is certainly worthwhile to investigate the type of grass in your pasture and in hay that is being fed to pregnant mares.  
There is a new type of fescue that is said to be endophyte-free now and that may be worth considering.
     Some breeders switch to alfalfa or timothy at least three months  before the mare is due to foal.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    
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