As to size of ponies competing, I do think it completely depends on the pony...
Case in point, our first CDE pony was an 11.3 hand Shetland and he was very competitive at the Preliminary level. Regularly beat the 14.2 handers on the marathon and was normally in the top five after dressage with a clean cones.
We developed a carefully crafted fitness schedule and selected a light and balanced marathon carriage. Even though he was a panter, we always cleared the vet box with flying colors. The only reason we moved up to a larger pony? Our little guy didn't meet the minimum FEI height requirement. But we didn' tell him that--he thought he was 17 hands.
A good day to everyone!
I am a newbie to this group, but not to horses, nor specifically, to miniature horses, having owned, bred(until a couple of years ago) and trained Miniature horses since '84.
Miniature horses are a 'height' breed, but yes, most are bred down from Shetlands, and in some cases, probably other pony breeds; in the US, most decend from American Shetlands-used to be, American owners,especially of AMHA-registered miniatures, would DENY that the horses were basically Shetland in blood, but that has changed quite a bit over the years....In the American registries, height measurement is 'from the last hair of the mane'-ridiculous, IMO, but I believe that many of the early owners/breeders of Miniature horses weren't "horse people" in the sense of the word, and that's what they chose to do! I believe that ADS created the VSE division in response to a 'demand' by those driving both A and R(34" is the height maximum in the AMHA; 38" the maximum in AMHR)HEIGHT(there is no requirement that the horses be registered in ANYTHING to compete in ADS VSE division, just that they meet the height restrictions) animals to compete in CDEs and similar venues. The designation of 38.98 inches(120 centimeters, if memory serves) at the WITHERS, was chosen; that would include all horses included in BOTH AMHA and AMHR.
All of my miniatures, until last year, have been 34" and under. However, I love driving and other performance, so last spring I bought a 38" mare to drive as a single; I wanted the addional 'power', yet needed to 'stay small'-I am the one and only person available to work the horses, and am not a spring chicken, so need to be able to do this by myself! I do drive a pair; they are 32" and 34". I recently got a Glinkowski "mini mix" marathon carriage; weight is stated to be around 240-250 lbs.; I weigh around 175-180. Just lately actually got to hook and drive it(had Hardy Zantke in our nearby city last weekend for a clinic--what a GREAT learning experience THAT was!!)-drove the pair, who admittedly are NOT currently legged-up for any serious work. They did fine, but were tired at the completion, as the arena ground was far from ideal for little horses, despite efforts in that direction....consideration came from the clinician in that respect, and the horses were fine. That said---if I were to be able to try to seriously compete in VSE CDE(which I seriously doubt I ever will, for several reasons), I would want to have a maximum VSE-sized pair-or, use the single 38" mare(I have a mini Bennington two-wheeler; weight about 110 lbs., which I know to be accurate, BTW)-I would not need a navigator that way, so no more weight, either. I got the marathon vehicle mostly to have something sturdy enough to trail drive the pair. Larger ponies are simply not an option, given my circumstances. I have been very 'tied-up' with secretary and other duties of my mini horse club for a long time; look forward to being 'free' next year and beyond to participate more in area 'fun' ADTs and the like!
Based on my experiences, I DO believe that on average, many miniature horses are quite strong for their size. I ALSO believe that they are often overfaced, usually not by serious and knowledgable drivers, but by relative 'newbies', who may not understand things like the importance of 'fitting' and keeping fit, the horse(s). I believe that when properly fit, and with good common sense and knowledge applied, that many miniature horses can participate and be competitive. Personally, I would not attempt to compete seriously with ANY miniature under 32" in height; I believe nearer maximum height(38") is most preferable-and that in any case, all applicable factors about the animal(s) in question must be fairly taken into account-like age, soundness, body build, temperment, level of fitness, etc.,etc.-before judging how much can be asked of the horse.
Margo- you are dead on right about miniature owners needing to be realistic about the work load they put in front of their horses.
My 34" guy is a husky gentleman with power and spring. Just this past weekend I drove my 32" mini for the first time. His training had stopped in July with him pulling his cart with me walking beside it. He had hours of ground driving and handling under his harness he had never pulled weight. He was perfect, laid back and easy. However, while trotting up the slope in our front yard he broke into a canter- a nice working canter, no foolishness- but it was clear that was easier for him to canter rather than trot. He pulled up promptly when asked to "trrrrrrot".
Both of my wooden carts are from Pam at Corner Creek Farm. The combined weight of me and either cart is about 250# and it was clear how different each mini handled the weight.
Personally, I would not attempt to compete seriously with ANY miniature under 32" in height; I believe nearer maximum height(38") is most preferable...
It probably is, but boy it's fun to beat those larger guys with an A mini! LOL. In my local experience, the 35-37" minis have enough power to face just about anything with ease without going outside the bounds of an obvious "mini." I figure if I want something around the top of the height range I might as well buy a small Welsh pony that I can ride back to the barn if I need to. Nothing in between interests me particularly! Either get a mini because it's cute and tiny, or buy a real horse.
Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.
Sorry to be replying so belatedly...I've been a bit under the weather and spent three days in the hospital. Hoping that Mr. KellyS will take me out to the barn this evening to see my "boys." I need some horse therapy.
Originally Posted by SLW
KellyS- would you be able to share the fitness schedule you used for your Shetland? Is it vastly different than what you would do for a full size/riding horse?
Nothing too ingenius or different...we based it on the interval conditioning program that we use for our event horses, working back from the dates of the CDE to plan out conditioning 2-3 months in advance. Factored in weather, length, and terrain to make sure that whatever we faced in competition was a walk in the park.
Originally Posted by Ashemont
Hey Kelly... what about your marathon carriage? What kind is it and how much does it weigh?
It's a Bellcrown Q4--when we had it made for the previous pony it weighed 300 lbs; it now weighs 320 with larger wheels and longer shafts for Merlin. Too much lighter and you start sacrificing stability in the hazards. We are very happy with it.
I haven't posted here in a while, but wanted to share my "mini" experiences (limited though they are).
I am the proud owner of an "unregistered mini," 37" in height and out of a dam whose AMHA papers were not brought permanent until he was 6 y/o, and a sire whose registration status was unknown to me. Obviously, given his height he would not have been registerable with AMHA anyway as they only register through 34", but he would be considered a VSE in ADS competition. He was the product of what I see mentioned in other posts here...the tendency of minis to be owned and bred by "non-horsey" people due to their managable stature. When I acquired him at age 6, he was hardly halter broke, had NO training to speak of (you mean kicking and biting ISN'T acceptable???), and had never been separated from his dam (who he sadly bred a few years before because said owners did not know to geld him ...resulting foal died of unknown causes at age 3). With so many cards stacked against him, this little man (now a gelding, of course) has turned into a driving machine; totally and clearly loves having a job. I've found him to be nothing but dependable in the traces, if not a little on the lazy side. However, I did find out the limitations of his size this summer when we attended our first pleasure show. The footing was quite deep and the weather quite steamy (pushing 90). Despite being in fairly good shape, the poor little guy had a terrible time pulling his little easy entry through the deep spots in the footing. He figured things out as we went (we only competed in 3 classes) and by the time the obstacle class came around he was able to zip around at a tidy trot, but it definitely made me rethink his capability for trying a CDE. My easy entry is only about 150 lbs and I weigh about 120, but I'd definitely want a lighter vehicle for him to go any distance at speed as a single. I'd love to find a match to drive him pairs, but unfortunately a whole new cart and set of harness is not in the cards at the moment so for now I'll have to make do.
Here are a few pictures from our one and only show experience to date: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...ncanshow16.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...uncanshow9.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...uncanshow8.jpg
I asked this question on a large miniature horse forum...we have 2 registered mini's and we call them ponies all of the time, which offended the breeder. So I asked why the term "pony" was so offensive. I got 65 replies, and all but 2 replied *they are actually ponies....they all come from pony stock somewhere*
One woman (a breeder) explained that the term "Miniature Horse" was developed by a bunch of Shetland Breeders who were trying to revamp the declining Shetland image. She explained that it was marketing. I have no idea if that is valid or not.
To me...they're ponies. They are under 14.2 and even have a Shetland double mane. They're really, really small ponies .
"What makes a Falabella so special?" They're just one particular Argentinian bloodline of miniature horse. Either they're all small ponies, or they're all miniature horses! :grin: No sense singling one bloodline out.
Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.
In fact I'd never call anything a "Mini" - unless it had 4 wheels on it!
I'd actually say either pony or horse.
They're just one particular Argentinian bloodline of miniature horse
But if I was referring to a "miniature horse" I'd be very specifically talking about a purebred falabella. Likewise I'd explain a Falabella by saying its a miniature horse. My understanding of the falabella is that it is a miniature horse in that it has the horse proportions of cannon bone etc of a horse in miniature rather than as a pony which has the shorter cannon bone. I know it has other anatomical peculiarities as well as clearly its purpose bred from a source stallion from Argentina that was throwing such traits - such as fewer ribs but its the only one I'd say was a miniature horse and that is why it looks like a tiny t/b or arab rather than a pony.
As far as I'm concerned anything else that is under 14.2hh and known NOT to be such as a small purebred horse breed (e.g. small arab) is just a pony.
Sorry, I'm with Leia when she asks what is so special about Falabellas? Now I haven't seen a lot of fallabellas, but most of the ones I have seen have been every bit as short and stumpy as many of the old type Minis that Thomas is putting down.
Didn't I read somewhere awhile ago that some of the Falabellas were actually off of Shetlands that were exported to Argentina from the US?
Many of the B sized Minis of today (as well as a number of the A sized ones) are in my view much more horse-like in proportion than the falabellas I have seen.
Yes, and he complains MIGHTILY about my driveway. Panting indeed - I'm afraid he's going to pass out. Although, he does weigh a bit more these days, doesn't he?
Don't let him fool you--he's a tough little critter. The panting is more of a mental thing--and the more people around to feel sorry for him, the worse it is. He knows how to milk it.
Our solution at CDEs--apple sauce in the vet box. He'd get so busy slurping it down that he'd forget to pant and voila, his respiration would be perfectly normal. It's all about outthinking the thinking pony.