Sunset Mountain Miniatures 

© 2004-2017 Sunset Mountain Miniatures

About Minis

Early European Miniature Horses

One of the first references to a miniature horse was a reference in

Gentlemen's Magazine published in London in 1765. The horse was

a black stallion measuring 30 inches tall from the Shetland Island

near Scotland.  For the next 80 years they were considered

novelties and bred by European royalty and landed gentry as pets.  

In 1847 an act of Parliament outlawed the use of children in mines.

Since many mine shafts were too low for even a small adult to

stand upright in there was an instant boom in demand for small

horses that could pull mining carts.


Argentine Miniature Horses

The Falabella family of Argentina became interested during the

late 1800s in the research and breeding of miniature horses.

Patrick Newell (the great grandfather of Julio Caesar Falabella)

first started the breeding of the miniature horses. The plan was to

develop an equine the size of pony, but with the conformation and

disposition of a horse.

The knowledge of breeding for miniature horses was recorded and

passed from Patrick to his son-in-law Juan Falabella, who in turn

passed the program onto his son Emilo Falabella, and then onto

his son Julio Falabella. Thus began the breeding of Falabella


The family selectively chose the horses for breeding by using the

smallest mares with the smallest stallions, thus resulting in each

generation becoming smaller. Breeding programs continue today

producing many horses under 30 inches. Some of today's

American Miniature horses can trace at least some of their

ancestry to the Argentina Falabella horse breed.

Miniature Horses in the United States

In 1888 the American Shetland Pony Club began registering

Shetland Ponies in America.  Most American Miniature Horses are

descendants of the Shetland Pony. Some American Miniature

Horses are also partially descended from Argentina Falabellas;

especially those with appaloosa spot markings.

Care and Feeding of Miniature Horses

Miniatures are generally easier to handle than their larger full-

sized cousins and are less expensive to care for. Their average life

span is 25 to 30 years. Their diet consists of hay, grass and grains.

Adult miniatures weigh between 150 and 350 pounds. As a rule a

single miniature horse eats approximately one fourth of what their

full-sized cousins eat. Miniature horses usually do not wear horse

shoes. However their little hooves must be trimmed by a qualified

farrier every 8 to 12 weeks. It is possible to house-break them, but

they are usually happier playing outside. They require vaccinations

once a year, and must be wormed every 6 to 8 weeks. Weaning

occurs at about 4 months, when they receive the first vaccinations.

What Can You Do With A Miniature Horse?

Miniatures perform in the show ring in halter contests, as driving

horses, and in performance classes such as hunter and jumper.

These animals are extremely strong and can pull carts or wagons

that have two or even three adults on board. Only small children

who weigh less than 60 pounds should ride miniatures. Miniatures

also perform in cute costume contests, and in exciting "horse

dancing" programs known as "Liberty". Showmanship contests

and contests with obstacle courses (both halter and driving) are

also held.

As a breed these horses are very gentle in temperament and make

superb pets and companions. Since the lifespan of a miniature

horse can be 30 years or more these four-legged friends can be

around for a long time. They are often used in nursing homes and

as therapy animals. They are well suited to those who may be

allergic to other animals. Miniatures have even been trained as

guides for the blind and visually impaired