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  • Minis???

    I see much mention of "Minis".

    But to me they're just ponies.

    Over here the only thing that would be called a "mini" is a miniature horse.

    What do you guys classify as a "mini"

  • #2
    I think ideas will differ on that subject but personally I consider anything under 10 hands to be a mini.


    • Original Poster

      so nothing to do with miniature horses? Just height??


      • #4
        Most of the minis I see are bred down shetlands. The Fabella lines and the true miniture horses are what I consider a minw. The bred down shetlands are just small ponies. Hows that for a farmers definition?
        Lostfarming in Idaho


        • #5
          The AMHA is the American Minature Horse Association. Minis are usually the real deal, a minature horse. They are dumped into a category for driving by the ADS in something called VSE or very small equine. The ADS is so politically correct. Actually VSE is anything under 39 inches I think. Help me out here, VSE people!!! It can be minature horses, or really just small ponies. To my knowledge a minature horse is NOT considered a pony.

          But yes, a mini is in my opinion a true minature horse. And they come into sizes A and B like Welsh ponies.

          Not being a minature horse owner, I am going on a knowledge gained through my exposure to said equine.

          I hope this clarifies what a mini is supposed to be.


          • #6
            Its chilly here today so flame away. Minis are registered with one of two registries and are considered miniature horses. Some minis are of fallabella lines, some seem to have mostly if not all shetland breeding, but are still considered miniature horses if they fit the height requirement. The two registries have slightly different height requirements and measure from the last hair on the main rather than the top of the wither which allows a slightly taller animal to make it into the group.

            VSE (very small equine) was not intended to be politically correct, but was coined to deal with both registries plus the smallest non-mini ponies. It came about because when minis first started competing in CDEs many of them were not suited or fit for the job and it wasn't pretty (there were concerns from some competitors and spectators). The ADS was concerned enough to ban them from competition. When the ban came out officially it also affected small ponies who were not having a problem so there was an uproar and ad hoc committees were formed to look into the situation. They came up with the VSE idea and our current system of competition for them. Now as VSE drivers are better preparing (and breeding) their animals for sport, it is becoming clear they are more up to the job than first thought and more changes may be afoot to give them more of a challenge.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Drive NJ View Post
              Some minis are of fallabella lines, some seem to have mostly if not all shetland breeding.
              I always think of mini's as the falabella type, like scaled-down horses. But there's a growing number of little critters near me who look like the Shetlands they have in the U.K. Not the Hackney crossed American Shetlands, but hairy little things with lots of bone and attitude and a tendency to pot bellies. They're adorable.

              Are these "mini's" bred from traditional Shetlands instead of the American type? I ask because I would *love* to have a U.K.-type Shetland, but find the American type taller and finer than what I want.
              I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


              • Original Poster

                To me a mini was always a miniature horse and NOT a pony. So in other words a falabella with different attributes to a pony.

                In the UK nothing else would be a miniature.

                If you had a shetland x - it would be a shetland x pony

                If it was indeterminate breeding then it would just be a pony.

                Also here anything that measures less than 10 hands high is then classified or called in inches and occasionally in centimetres.

                VSE to me just seems a silly longwinded way of saying "pony".

                I've got to say that I don't think anything less than 12.2 should be competed in horse driving trials (CDE) and ideally if they're 12.2 I'm of the view they should be in pairs minimally rather than singles. No different if they're permitted to compete with a 2 wheeler and a 4 wheeler is hard work for any small pony. (or indeed for a falabella or miniature horse )
                Last edited by Thomas_1; Oct. 27, 2006, 03:52 PM.


                • #9
                  Ahhh but Thomas we ARE allowed to use 2 wheelers at the lower levels of competition so there is a training, preliminary and intermediate level (currently just training and preliminary for VSEs). Plus the VSE folks modified the rules to downsize the event for their smaller sized critters - different speeds, distances, size of dressage ring to allow for true bends etc.

                  While I agree that there is a difference between the falabellas (many of whom have serious dwarfism charateristics) and the downsized shetlands, there is a registry for these guys and a lot of them out there and they want to come out and play. Good for them if they can do the job under the modified rules and pass the vet checks. But we needed a way to identify who is playing under those rules and selected height as the criteria hence VSE instead of Miniature horse which would limit to the Falabellas and registered Minis.

                  Those under 10 hands are commonly refered to in inches here too.


                  • #10
                    Good job so far, guys

                    Miniature Horses in America are a height breed, so regardless of pedigree if the horse or pony is under the height requirements it can be registered as a miniature horse. The registries have now closed in the last several years so it will begin to become a pedigree/bloodline breed, but traditionally it has only been a height registry. You will therefore see Shetland, Falabella, and mutt all accepted as a "miniature horse" and from that gene pool we are breeding towards a standard.

                    VSE's (mine is a registered miniature horse as well) have proven to do very well in the CDE's offered for them. My horse has never had one single problem in vet check, in fact the commentary has been that his breathing rate is usually back to normal almost before the vet can get to him! And I do not even condition as I'd like to due to lack of driving space around my home. My vet's comment is that things like placentas, scrotum, heart, and lungs are the last things to downsize so my miniature has a very large heart proportionately for his size. This enables him to oxygenate well and have a lot of stamina as well as pulling power for his size.

                    Intermediate has been opened for VSE's this year and several shows have been held with entrants at that level. One of them won the Best Conditioned Horse award for all Intermediate entries in a big California show! So I think you will find they are able to prove themselves at least in the scaled-down courses. Thomas, I too would hesitate to ask a true miniature (i.e. the 34" and under horses) to tackle the same hills and distances the big horses do. Some exceptional individuals could handle it, but whether they could do it or not in my opinion it is too much to ask with heavy drivers for most small horses. We can safely do much more than we are being allowed to, definitely, but I would say not the same as the big horses. After all, common sense must come in at some point!

                    But in direct answer to your question, "Miniature Horse" when properly used refers to registered horses under a certain height. Technically the unregistered horses are not "American Miniature Horses" and so would be considered only ponies as an equine under the height of 14.2 hands. I personally have no problem calling them "unregistered minis" as the only difference is that they were found too late to get papers.

                    So all minis are ponies by height, if not by breed (Shetland, Welsh, etc.)

                    Not all ponies are miniatures, most are too tall.

                    And not all horses/ponies under the height limit are technically Miniatures as they are not registered with the miniature horse registry and as such only qualify for the term "pony" to describe their height, or "unregistered miniature" to get more specific about their height.

                    Clear as mud, right?

                    And just one person's opinion.

                    It gets even more confusing when you consider that a horse that is bred from a registered miniature and a Shetland needs to be described as a "miniature/shetland cross," but isn't one half anything in particular! They could be Shetland/smaller Shetland, mutt and Shetland, Falabella and Shetland...and no matter what, if the horse is too big it isn't a miniature itself despite being technically half registered miniature. Or if it is small enough and gets registered, it's a full Miniature despite the Shetland half! Oy.

                    Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.


                    • #11

                      And then of course, there is Thumbelina. The video is very cute.



                      • Original Poster

                        Now personally I don't think that is cute at all.

                        Its clearly a dwarf horse and looks like it has achondroplasia which is a genetic defect. If I'd bred it I think I'd be ashamed and definitely wouldn't have it on show and making money out of it.

                        I also don't like anthropomorphising horses whether they're 18 hands or 18" and find the carrying it round and cuddling it somewhat abhorant and distasteful. But then I confess to hating those who use small dogs as fashion accessories to be stuffed in handbags.

                        I've also read Thumbelina's web site and note there is some misinformation regarding pit ponies in the UK. They were not purpose bred miniature ponies less than 34inches at all. Rather they were native breed ponies or native breed cross ponies and ordinarily Welsh Cobs, Dales, dartmoor, exmoor and Shetland Ponies and NOT anywhere near as small as purported on their web site.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                          Now personally I don't think that is cute at all.

                          Its clearly a dwarf horse and looks like it has achondroplasia which is a genetic defect. If I'd bred it I think I'd be ashamed and definitely wouldn't have it on show and making money out of it.
                          Oh, for Pete's sake! The owners don't think she's a good thing either and have no intentions of breeding her. They clearly state this. However, I don't see why they should be ashamed. Genetic defects can crop up even even in the most sound breeding programs.

                          If you really think about it, ALL breed characteristics (dogs/cats/horses, etc.) could be considered genetic defects. Depends on human taste what is considered acceptable, does it not? For example, mashed faced dogs and cats along with massively over muscled QH's with 00 feet give me the willies. Plenty of others do not share my opinion. Different strokes...


                          • #14
                            There are two breed registries for miniature horses. The AMHA which does not allow mini's taller than 34"- and within that they break down the heights. The AMHR has two sections- 34" and under and 34" to 38". A thoughtful breeding will produce a horse which does look like a very small horse and not one w/ pony characteristics in a small body.

                            Holy wars can start when die hard AMHA's or AMHR's breeders go up against each other. There tend to be two "types" of miniature horses within both registries- an Arabian type and a Stock type.

                            I have one gelding who is a husky 34" guy- solid as a rock. My second one is of slighter build and 32" tall. The second one came from a thoughtful breeding and when positioned to something in scale to him in a photo, appears to be a full size horse. My husky 34" guy while a pleasing Appaloosa, does have pony characteristics from his very dished face and large eyes to his "catch me in the paddock if you can" running ability.

                            I cannot imagine that my smaller mini would be able to do in his cart the same distances and difficulties that my larger mini can do based on height and weight. I could be wrong as I'm just getting the smaller guy going in harness but my hunch is based on simple physics.


                            • Original Poster

                              When I asked the question I never thought it would be so complicated.

                              Right in the context of the question what would you call these:

                              I have a:

                              shetland that is 39"
                              A welsh section A 12 hands

                              A shetland cross with something equine!? 40"

                              Something indeterminate but its brown! 11.2hands


                              • #16
                                The 4 you list are considered ponies based on height- all over 38". I don't recall the various heights for a pony to be shown as a small or medium pony hunter but yours fall into that range.


                                • #17
                                  Yup you poked a hornets nest

                                  Hi Thomas:
                                  Just had to step in to defend my breed here. You mentioned not competing anything under 12.2 h but then I think you qualified that saying pairs would be OK. Caspians top out at 12.2 and I can say that they can run rings around most ponies. I have a husky 12.2 welsh and the Caspians will out work him any day of the week even tho he weighs 700 pounds to their 450.
                                  In England there have been some Caspians that have done very well at scurry driving.

                                  all that said I totally agree with you that running pairs on the smaller equines is the way to go.

                                  Good subject. Thanks for starting it. Now I'll sign off and since I'm the leading thread killer we should be done with it :-)



                                  • #18
                                    Just to add to the confusion!

                                    Here in Australia, we have both Miniature Horses AND Miniature Ponies being shown in Harness classes at shows.

                                    We don't have any doing CDE's as the Australian Carriage Driving Society has a minimum height restriction of over 9hh for CDE ponies.

                                    Shirrine's pony 'Desi' is a registered Miniature Pony, as well as being a registered Shetland pony - he is 34" measured at the top of the wither. (

                                    The pony I used to show was a Studbook Shetland (related to 'Desi') who traced back totally to England/Shetland Isles bloodstock. He loved cones and could do a brilliant dressage test but he measured 9hh (on a good day-with weight on-if he was stirred up-if he stood on tippy-toes, etc!!!). So he was never campained as a CDE pony.

                                    I show Miniature Ponies in-hand. Mine are shetland bred and do not look like miniature horses, although they are finer than some shetlands. The Miniature Ponies are measured in centimetres at the top of the wither.

                                    Here in Australia as in America, there are several Miniature Horse societies and as with the USA, they do have different maximum heights. The main one (MHAA) has A & B sections - A's being 34" and under and B's over 34" and not exceeding 38" (these measurements are in inches at the last hair of the mane).

                                    Fallabellas have not proved very popular over here, but that could be to do with the quality of stock that have been imported.


                                    • #19

                                      Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                                      Right in the context of the question what would you call these:

                                      I have a:

                                      shetland that is 39" a Shetland
                                      A welsh section A 12 hands a Welsh Sect. A
                                      A shetland cross with something equine!? 40" A Shetland pony cross
                                      Something indeterminate but its brown! 11.2hands a brown pony
                                      See? Easy! LOL. If it's got a pedigree, it's whatever breed it's pedigree says it is and could also be registered as a mini if it's small enough. If it has no pedigree, no papers, and is under 14.2h, it's a pony. Period.

                                      Somehow I think you knew that though.

                                      By the way, AMHA isn't that complicated. It's for horses under 34", only the show classes are divided further by height.

                                      That "miniature pony" thing could get confusing! No wonder there are so many definitions across countries. Ah well! If it drives well, I love it and no matter the size.

                                      Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by kearleydk View Post
                                        Hi Thomas:
                                        Just had to step in to defend my breed here. You mentioned not competing anything under 12.2 h but then I think you qualified that saying pairs would be OK. Caspians top out at 12.2 and I can say that they can run rings around most ponies. I have a husky 12.2 welsh and the Caspians will out work him any day of the week even tho he weighs 700 pounds to their 450.
                                        In England there have been some Caspians that have done very well at scurry driving.

                                        all that said I totally agree with you that running pairs on the smaller equines is the way to go.

                                        Good subject. Thanks for starting it. Now I'll sign off and since I'm the leading thread killer we should be done with it :-)

                                        I did indeed express my personal opinion with regard to small ponies and that they should be in pairs for competition work .

                                        I too have shetlands and welsh A's.

                                        I've 4 black shetlands with me (not mine) that I initially put to harness and train and keep fit for a lady who scurry drives them in pairs.