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Horse Breeds
First Posted: June 26, 2009
Aug 15, 2010

American Miniature

American Miniature Pony


The American Miniature is obviously a unique breed. Unlike some horses bred particularly for coloration or size, the Miniature is held to conformation standards. It is a strong enough horse to carry children and small adults, and can be used in light draft. Actually, the Miniature was initially brought to the United States for use in the Appalachian coal mines.

Physical Description

Obviously, the most outstanding feature of the Miniature is its size. It stands up to 34 inches. Other than height, standards require the horse to be of good conformation, looking much like a horse of larger proportions. It is known for its intelligence and alertness. It appears in any color.


Small horses were brought to the U.S. to work in coal mines early in this century. As in years past, small but strong horses were needed to haul carts out of the lead and coal mines of Britain and Holland. These small horses were soon no longer needed in the mines and instead developed as a novelty breed. Through the efforts of the American Miniature Horse Association, formed in 1978, breeders have imported fresh blood from England, Holland, Belgium, and West Germany to ensure conformation standards. The American Miniature has been influenced by the Shetland and the Falabella.

Interesting Facts

The Miniature makes a great pet for those who can not necessarily take on the responsibility or cost of a larger animal. They are curious, attentive, and intelligent. Able to carry light adults, the Miniature can give a taste of the equine world to those unable to mount larger horses.


1. English Mine Horse
2. Dutch Mine Horse

Note: The first mention of a small horse being imported into the United States was in 1888; and research shows little public awareness of true Miniatures until 1960. Popular belief is that American Miniature Horses utilized the blood of English and Dutch mine horses brought into this country in the 19th century and used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. The American Miniature Horse, as documented in the pedigrees of Miniatures today, also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony. Throughout its colorful past, the Miniature Horse breed has been bred for pets, novelty, research, monetary gain, mining work, exhibition and royal gifts. American Miniature Horse Association

3. Shetland Pony
4. Falabella

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Oklahoma State University list of livestock breeds

Horse Breeds