Miniature Horses: Pets of the Future Round II

Riverdance Miniatures in Victoria, Australia may have set a new record for the world's smallest horse. This prematurely born foal stands only 15 inches high, or 3.3 "hands", in horse-speak. The previous record for a fully grown horse was 4 hands and 1 inch.

i-3ee1dcfe05457f4b9bc18b086403561b-tiny miniature horse foal.jpg

Miniature horses are in fact, miniature horses, and not ponies. They have a higher rate of dwarfism than normal horses, because, well, they were bred for it (see earlier post on a tiny horse going bonkers).

Add one of these horses, one of the formerly featured miniature pigs, and maybe a tiny sheep, and you'd have yourself the most adorable, most genetically screwed up farm on the planet!

Thanks to Harry Hancock for sharing.

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im torn on minis. on the one hand they are so adorable. on the other, they look so delicious.

I love horses. These things are just the biological equivalent of "My Little Pony" toys, however. They are not horses; they are little bundles of grotesque wrongness which the marketers have somehow convinced people to think of as cute.

{{{shudder}}}

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 25 Nov 2008 #permalink

so out of curiousity, how big is one of these compared to an eohippus?

eohippus averaged 9 inches at the shoulder, so it's 6 inches larger.

peter: there were a number of species of "eohippus", ranging in size from as big as a collie (maybe two feet high, I guess) to as small as a domestic cat.

There's more to the Eocene "dawn horses" than size, though. So these miniature horses are as small as some ancient ones, but otherwise are very different from them.

By Maureen Lycaon (not verified) on 25 Nov 2008 #permalink

All the horribly deformed ones that die in a few months, and the less deformed ones that live, but can't walk properly...not cute. Not cute at all. This is an industry that creates hundreds of animals which have short lives filled with pain...not to advance our knowledge of biology or genetics or medicine or anything at all which could improve life for others...just so that some of the lucky ones can be owned by people who want something "cute".

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrongwrongitywrongwrongwrong.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 25 Nov 2008 #permalink

"Look at the size of that boy's head! I'm not kidding, it's like an orange on a toothpick!"

Ahh Luna_the_cat THANKYOU ! Sorry for yelling but you took the words right out of my mouth. Selective breeding is inevitable and serves many a good purpose, however the practice of breeding for the express purpose of creating "esthetically curious" grotesques is ethically bankrupt.

By BlindRobin (not verified) on 28 Nov 2008 #permalink

technically, this is genetic modification. We are taking inherent (natural) elements within the species, and exploiting them in an unnatural way. The pigs had the predisposition to be this small, but by cross breeding (purposefully) two small pigs to get smaller pigs more frequently, we've engineered them this way. These pigs would not likely exist in a human-less environment. It's not beneficial for them to be this small. So what ever you do, if you must have your own mini pig, don't flush it down the toilet when you get bored-it won't be able to handle the sewers with the giant rats, alligators, and turtles!!! :)

By katie 2.0 (not verified) on 01 Dec 2008 #permalink

Awesome! But, instead of cranberry sauce, it'd have to be horseradish!

Remember; a miniature horse is not just for xmas... Although they do make a real live nativity diorama.

Unfortunately, most of us are drawn towards tiny. We associate it with "cute" . This has spawned a lucrative market. Look at the toy breeds of dog. The smaller animal gets the reward. What they don't tell you is the smaller the animal the more frequent the health problems. Maybe it has to do with a smaller immune system?
Can't deny, they are cute!

Great story about miniature horses!

Johnny

By Trubee Jones (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

If you are going to bring up genetically irresponsible breeding, you can't just single out the mini breeders. Look at quarter horses, thoroughbreds, and morgans. In attempts to make them fit out needs better, we have sacrificed their fitness, which is just wrong. I have seen many minies live long happy, healthy lives while I have seen many large horses live short painful lives due to irresponsible breeding. I'm not saying that this irresponsible breeding doesn't exist in the mini industry, I'm just trying to point out how ubiquitous it is. Responsible breeding programs for horses of all sizes would lead to a much healthier, and happier horseworld.

Traveler: I associate dog health problems (like hip problems, twisted innards, short lives, etc. with with the larger breeds, like St. Bernards, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and such rather than with the smaller breeds.

yea! i fucking love mini horses!

By monkey mcadams (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

um who ever said its "obviously its fake horses are big" your wrong this horse is real ive seen in and patted it at ballan autum festival and i know the owners its just the cutest thing you can just pick it up and carry it

gosh miniatutre horses dont need to be deformed to be little AND cute!!
at home we have like 17 miniature horses and they are all little ANd cute so if you think that having a litte horse is wrong its not if you get the breeding right they are the cutest thing on earth!!

ummm.... way to act like minis are something new. they have been around for years. and they are an actual breed of horse and very much "real". this was a stupid blog with some very stupid people commenting on it.

get a life people!!!! miniature horses where once called pit ponies..... they much better of today just been loved for there cuteness

I have learned that these animal rights freaks are a bunch of ugly people who nobody can stand to look at, so they want to do away with anything cute hoping that somebody will love thier ugly ass.

By Donald Weisenburger (not verified) on 24 Sep 2010 #permalink

those things r fake y would u even say they r real. thats just a lie

All you people who think miniature horses are freaks are completely off base. Miniature horses have been around for hundreds of years and on average stand 32-48 inches tall, with many being smaller. There are two registries for them in the US, including the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA). They live as long as a full sized horse (i've known one as old as 25yrs). They are very hardy and affectionate. Larger minis can be saddle trained for small children and cart trained for shows. Some minis were bred by european courts to appeal to royal fancies, and some from natural miniatures discovered in south america, which were descedants of horses brought over and left by conquistadors that eventually naturally bred down to a diminuative size. Dwarfism is unfortunate, and something breeders are combating. Breeders who are breeding for healthy horses are selecting against dwarfism. The AMHA is doing its part by registering only those who are not dwarfs. I can't say for sure if the little guy in the story is a dwarf or not, but they cannot be registered until they are five years old and full grown, and only if they are not a dwarf (which do have many health problems and live a significantly shorter life).
BTW, there are miniature farms who breed only miniature animals, google it.

All the horribly deformed ones that die in a few months, and the less deformed ones that live, but can't walk properly...not cute. Not cute at all. This is an industry that creates hundreds of animals which have short lives filled with pain...not to advance our knowledge of biology or genetics or medicine or anything at all which could improve life for others...just so that some of the lucky ones can be owned by people who want something "cute".They are very hardy and affectionate. Larger minis can be saddle trained for small children and cart trained for shows. Some minis were bred by european courts to appeal to royal fancies.