Aren’t mini horses a delight to the eyes? These small and adorable animals are the definition of cuteness and everything we are looking for in a pet animal. But do you think mini horses are natural? Well, if you look at the history of mini horses, you can see how they developed to fit into certain necessities of the times, considerably reducing their sizes. And now, with advancements in technology and sciences, we have learned to breed them artificially as well. Read on and find out more about mini horses.
History of Mini Horses
There has been the presence of miniature horses or mini horses way back from the olden times. The smaller variety of horses is said to be the result of environmental limitations and a lack of proper feed. These horses, who survived harsh climates and lived long and healthy, were then bred artificially to get the desired size and genetic qualities. These miniature horses are the descendants of the Shetland ponies who underwent inbreeding to get the desired results. Early documentation of mini horses dates back to the beginning of the 18th century, and artificial breeding began only by the 20th century. Mini horses also delighted the palace premises in the olden times, where they were used for entertainment and for small works.
What are Mini Horses Mainly Used For?
Mini horses were used in the olden times in the mining sector since their naturally small size enabled them to squeeze in and pass through tight spaces. They are no longer used in mines but are engaged in other purposes nowadays. The ease of managing and maintaining them also makes them easier to train. Mini horses are now used as guide animals for the visually impaired and individuals with disabilities, those who are not comfortable having dogs as guide animals. These horses can be trained to act as guides, and their long life span, which is even longer than that of dogs, makes them a good option too. These mini horses are also used as therapy animals; the affection they give out and their calm demeanor make them the best at this.
Apart from these, mini horses are kept as pets and for entertainment purposes. Some mini horse owners also use them to draw small carts and sleighs; since the restricted size does not give scope for riding or heavy work. Owners of mini horses also engage them in competitions and sports activities where their traits and abilities are assessed and appreciated.
Characteristics of Mini Horses
Both mini horses and ponies are small. Then what will it be that distinguishes them from each other? Mini horses look exactly like full-sized horses but much smaller, while ponies have shorter legs and do not look as proportionate as mini horses and rather look stocky.
Mini horses are naturally gentle and social animals. Their friendly nature is one that makes them the perfect companion animals and pets. Their incredible lifespan often surpasses that of their enlarged family members, adding to their advantages. Mini horses typically have a lifespan ranging from 25 to 35, which is longer than that of dogs, further making them the perfect companion animals. Mini horses are also exempt from the common disease that affect large horses badly but are prone to some, which are rarely seen in large horses.
How to Feed a Mini Horse?
Compared to full-size horses, mini horses eat much less in quantity, which is a factor that adds them to the category of easily manageable and affordable. The average food intake of a large horse every day lies between 15 to 20 pounds, which is a huge difference compared to mini horses, whose daily diet lies between 2 to 4 pounds.
When it comes to their feed, mini horses require similar components that are included in normal horses’ balanced diet, including grass, hay, rolled oats, and treats from time to time. Though the requirements are similar, miniature horse owners must be careful not to overfeed their horses since they are very much prone to getting obese. It is important to regulate your horse’s feed according to its size and the physical activity they involve in to prevent them from overfeeding.
Grooming of Mini Horses
Mini horses being mini does not mean that they do not require proper grooming or care. They must be fed, properly housed, and should be vaccinated at regular intervals, similar to what happens with larger horses. Regular hoof care, dental care, and parasite control should be taken care of, and enough space for them to roam around should also be provided. The only difference in the grooming and caring part is that you will not have to invest as much time as you spend grooming the larger horses, considering the lesser surface area. With proper knowledge about the breed and mini horses, even new owners can easily keep and maintain mini horses.
Common Health Issues Affecting Mini Horses
Obesity is one main issue faced by mini horses, as most often, horse owners feed the mini horses like the big horses, leading to such a situation. And these horses who engage in less physical labor and activity are unlikely to burn the extra feed, which will end up making them obese. While feed requirement is much less compared to that of big horses, vitamin and mineral needs are almost similar, which should be provided according to their diet.
Mini horses have the same size and number of teeth as large horses. This when combined with the smaller size of their heads leads to overcrowding of teeth and issues related to that. Hence, regular dental checks must be in place to prevent and treat overbites and underbites. Sinus infections also arise from a lack of attention to their teeth.
Hyperlipemia is a condition that affects mini horses and ponies alike, but not large horses. This condition gets triggered as a side effect of obesity and stress, where their blood gets fatty. If a horse gets hyperlipemia, immediate treatments must be administered since it could grow worse really soon. Hence, owners must take care not to overfeed their horses and not to stress them out.
A horse named Thumbelina is the tiniest horse in the world, measuring just 17.5 inches in height. So, what are your thoughts about getting a mini horse for yourself, since now you know mini horses are natural?