Many Mini Smiles
A miniature horse is an experience that most people have only watched from a distance. But when they have watched, they did so with smiles on their faces. I know this, because everywhere I go with our miniature horses, I see people smiling. People that most of the time wouldn't bother to give you the time of day, will look and smile, and ask you the familiar questions: How old is it?...will it get any bigger?...how much does it weigh?
There is something about a miniature horse that brings out the nicer sides of most people. Most of the readers of this magazine already own or have a great interest in full-sized horses. But every time we pull into a horse show that has events for both miniature and full-sized horses, everyone watches with enjoyment and interest as we hitch one up to a cart and start warming up before our class, especially the large horses which seem to have an incredible fascination or fear of the miniature horse breed.
As for the other type of person, the one who isn't really interested in horses, even they are captivated by a miniature horse. You will be carting down the road, and you had better be prepared to politely wave back to perfect strangers who can't believe their eyes. You see the grin on their faces and you know that your mini just stole another heart.
Any person, whether captivated or not by the allure of a horse, must admit that this wonderful animal of God's creation is very majestic, powerful, and ominous. Unfortunately, many people are too intimidated by these powerful animals to allow themselves to get close enough to really enjoy them. They are afraid that they might be stepped on, or kicked, or bitten. However, with the miniature horse, people are not afraid. They see the same majesty and grace, but they don't feel intimidated because of their size. They want to touch them. They really want to touch them. They want to hug them and kiss their noses, and they don't seem to mind if they get a little dirty in the process.
Miniature horses are a wonderful way for a child to learn about the care and handling of a horse. The miniature has the same skeletal and muscular structure as the full sized horse. The miniatures have the same basic temperaments that you'll find with large horses. They also need to learn many of the same lessons as do the big horses: How to halter, how to load into a trailer, how to clean a hoof...And the wonderful thing about a miniature horse is that it is small enough so that if one does step on your foot, you probably won't have to visit the hospital or even hobble around for a few days with a black and blue hoof print on your foot. They are small enough so that if they do rear up, you are still taller than they are and can easily control them. They are small enough so you don't worry as much, as when your child is learning about horses. Yes, you can be hurt by them, but nothing like a large horse can hurt you. You must still give them a certain amount of respect and caution, (anyone who tells you otherwise was never a boy-scout), but you just don't have that fear of being really hurt as if it were a full-sized horse.
For the most part, they are sweet, loving and relatively gentle. In fact I have a couple of family members who, when they see on of our minis laying down, will attempt and sometimes succeed at laying down with their head resting on the horse's belly (don't try this at home unless you really know your horse) They claim that there is nothing in the world that is better. So far, I take their word for it.
The miniature horse is a "Height" breed. It is not a pony, just as it is not a full sized horse. The miniature world has two different National organizations, the AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association), and the AMHR (American Miniature Horse Registry). The last letter of each acronym is usually how a person represents their miniature horse. If your horse is registered with AMHA, your "A" horse must measure 34" and under at maturity. If your mini is registered with AMHR, your "R" horse must measure 38" and under at maturity. Of course if your mini measures 34" or under, you qualify to register it with both organizations.
Since this breed is based only upon height, there are several different qualities of larger breeds that can be seen in a miniature. You can find minis with features of all the different breeds from Arabian, to Friesian, to Quarter Horse, to Vladmir. You can find Pintos and Appaloosas, and palominos, and every color available in a large breed. In fact, a miniature horse often can best be described a "chameleon" in color, for their winter coat is usually a slightly different color than when you shave them in early spring, (they become way too hot if you don't), and even a different color during the summer. We once had a little mare that we bought looking like a chestnut bay, and when she was shaved she looked like a silver dapple, and come summer, she was a dark gray dapple (three horses in one).
No matter what color or breed quality, their most powerful and long remembered aspect is the ability of a mini to put a smile on the face of old and young alike. There is just something about them that is warm, light, and friendly and makes you feel like you need to smile. If you don't believe me, just look at the front cover again.
|October 3, 2001 8:22 PM|