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  Season 8 - Episode 803
 

Miniature Horses

Miniature Horses

Miniature Horses

Miniature Horses

 

 



  Miniature Horses

Miniature horses. Like the name implies, they're full-grown horses that stand thirty-four inches or less measured from the last hairs of their manes.

Miniature horses date back to sixteenth century Europe, where they were popular pets among royalty. Eventually, they turned into valuable workhorses, pulling carts through coalmines in England, and later in the United States. Their small size made them suitable for small spaces. Plus, adds Joleigh Stribling with Quicksilver Ranch in Solvang, "They're not as scared as big horses. They can be in closed, confined spaces without getting upset. And they can pull up to ten times their own weight."
Today in California, miniature horse farms can be found from Petaluma near San Francisco all the way south to San Diego. Since these little guys are bred to be friendly, curious, and docile, they're well suited to children. Joleigh, who's been around "minis" for most of her life, says they're sweet and affectionate, much like the family dog or cat. And like dogs and cats, miniature horses make popular pets.

While they can't live in the house, Joleigh has often brought her favorite horses into her office to keep her company. They've even napped on her bed.

Quicksilver sells its horses starting at around $2500. Feeding a full-grown "mini" costs a mere $20 a month. But before you rush out to buy one, remember: this is still a horse and it requires regular maintenance. Along with feeding, washing, brushing, medical care, and shelter, a miniature horse needs as much or more attention than a family dog. And while miniature horses have enough strength to pull a small cart, they cannot be ridden, since their backs can't take the weight of even an average-sized child.

Among breeders, the goal is a horse that's small but in proportion to its larger cousins. While "minis" won't get much smaller, their looks continue to evolve. Joleigh explains that fifty years ago, "minis" looked more like draft horses, with larger, bulkier bodies and shorter legs. Now, many of the rougher edges have been bred out of them. The result: miniatures with the sleek lines of an Arabian, but in a scaled-down package. A sweet, small package with enormous appeal!

More Information
If you'd like to see miniature horses for yourself, Quicksilver Ranch in Solvang (near Santa Barbara) welcomes visitors. The address is 1555 Alamo Pintado Road. Phone: (805) 686-4002.

Another spot we featured in this story was the Winners' Circle Ranch in Petaluma in Northern California. The address: 5911 Lakeville Highway. Phone: (707) 762-1808.

For further information about miniature horses, visit the official American Miniature Horse Association website at www.minihorses.com/amha.

 

 
   

 

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