Tiny Horse Goes Bonkers

Stupid BoingBoing always has the best stuff. Reminds me of my puppy when he escapes out of the door.

Once again, thanks to that Asian guy we know.

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I demand to know how I might create something like this, but with more of a 'giraffe' flavor. Shrink ray? Asteroid powder? Boring old generations of breeding?

But seriously--this looks like the breed of tiny horses they're using to train as Guide Horses for the Blind. It's an alternative to people who are afraid of or allergic to dogs. But the way that little 'un's running around, I'm thinking the only person he'll be leading around would be Daredevil on LOTS of meth.

Yes, those are miniature horses. They top out at 32 or 36 inches at the shoulder (depends on which registry you ask). The one running around in the video is a foal - tiny AND loaded with energy.

Some have been trained as guide horses. The best-known one is actually a dwarf, so she's even shorter than most.

@ MM:

I got VERY excited when I saw pictures of guide horses wearing TINY SNEAKERS as they guided their humans around. Seriously--it's to prevent them slipping on all the slick surfaces they encounter during their work. The whole concept delights and intrigues me, especially when they have names like 'Sugarcube' and 'Princess.'

Man, beneath the scars from accidents, the liver damage from booze, the tattoos and the useless pop culture references, I am apparently still a 6-year-old girl!

Ha ha, Jenbug! You'll never completely lose that little girl!

MM- You seem knowledgeable about this. Has anyone reported any differences in traits or disease susceptibility in these little guys?

Well Julia, other than things that may arise from really bad breeders they are relatively healthy as long as people looking after them realize they have distinct needs.

They have to have their teeth looked after very well. Problems can arise from just as many teeth as a normal horse being in a bit smaller skull and they can starve to death while eating constantly. Reg horses can have this problem too but the little guys are a bit more prone is all. They are stocky so they can be more emaciated than they look at first glance.

Nothing wrong wtih the little guy in this picture. He's all, "See Ya!." ;)

By arachnophile (not verified) on 06 Nov 2008 #permalink

Julia, as far as I know, minis are neither more nor less susceptible to illness than are other horse or pony breeds.

They present some management challenges, though, and their small size makes them more susceptible to injury or illness due to mismanagement. For example: Minis, like other horse and pony breeds, will overeat if given the opportunity and can become obese; as in other breeds, obesity increases the likelihood of Cushing's disease, laminitis, joint problems, etc. It simply takes less overfeeding to put excess weight on a 150-pound mini than it does to put excess weight on a 1200-pound horse. Mini mares seem more likely to have trouble giving birth, perhaps because the foals aren't as small relative to the adults as they are in the larger breeds.

arachnophile has a good point about the impact of breeding practice. Because the breed standard puts so much emphasis on stature (or lack thereof), too many breeders have selected their breeding stock based on the animals' height and haven't paid enough attention to overall conformation. This has led to the production of a large number of minis with lousy conformation and the healthcare responsibilities that come with that. arachnophile mentioned dental issues, and foot and leg issues are also common. Again, this isn't unique to minis - whenever the breed standard emphasizes something other than overall conformation (there are a LOT of badly built Paint horses out there, for example).

Dwarfism (achondroplasia) is much more common among minis than other breeds. Because the breed standard emphasizes small stature, animals with dwarfism are much more likely to be bred.

They are stocky so they can be more emaciated than they look at first glance.

Nothing wrong wtih the little guy in this picture. He's all, "See Ya!." ;)

I'm sorry, but this is pretty funny! The way that man is just going on to the loudspeaker about the facts and figures - and the horse is just going mad!
But seriously, that horse is insane. They shouldn't breed them to be that small. It's toying with nature, and so is therefore wrong. Nature isn't something humans should have control over.

@ Freia:
You say they shouldn't breed them to be something they weren't originally, but do you have an issue with domestic dogs?

Every single dog, from the Bernese Mountain dog to the Chihuahua to the Norfolk terrier to the Irish Setter is descended from wolves. Man specifically bred them to hunt rodents or herd livestock or be tiny and adorable (like these horses).

I don't think it's unnatural. It's just man testing his boundaries and the boundaries of science. As long as the animals aren't mistreated, there shouldn't be a problem.