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Minis - Horses or Ponies?

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  • Minis - Horses or Ponies?

    Last fall I got myself a miniature horse. She's cute and fuzzy and I love her. I refer to her as "my pony" (of course, I often refer to my big horses as ponies too) and this seems to really irritate those who are "in" to miniature horses. They insist that they are small horses. What exactly is the difference between a horse and a pony (besides height and attitude)? Many of the sales ads I see for minis proudly claim "Arenosa" bloodlines. From what I googled, that is a shetland pony bloodline so even if the mini was a horse, it's now mixed with pony. As an aside, my mini is out of the "Just" lines. Any mini people know what that means. Supposedly it's a good line but I can't find much info on it.

    Just end of the work week wondering. My neighbor brought home a very large mini last night and I called it a "cute pony". That got the lecture going.
    Crayola Posse - Pine Green
    Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)
    Autumn Caper (April 27, 1989 - May 24, 2015)
    Murphy (April 28, 1994 - May 5, 2017)

  • #2
    I noticed it to. But I was told they have different genetics than Shetlands - but I do not see how that is possible I do not breed them or show them. They are pet therapy animals and companions here. But a but of truth would be refreshing!
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

    Comment


    • #3
      They're ponies. Ponies, ponies, ponies. Most of us will agree they're ponies.

      There was a time about 20 years ago where many people considered it insulting to refer to a Miniature as a "pony" (implying they were short, dumpy, hairy Thewell beasts, which many were at that time) There was also a HUGE insult to say a Miniature had pony breeding. Oh gosh, that was BAD. My mentor got a stallion in a trade who was gorgeous and turned out 1/4 Shetland (dam was 1/2 Shetland Gold Melody Boy daughter) and they never mentioned that side of the pedigree. It wasn't until a few years later that interest in the GMB bloodline started to perk up as people suddenly realized Rowdy had been at least 1/2 Shetland, Roan Ranger was a GMB son (and had just been credited with DNA testing to siring NFC's SugarBoy), Buckeroo was a GMB grandson as was Sid's Rebel and wasn't that Flaby's Supreme horse somewhat Shetland bred too? It was kind of an interesting thing to watch, given I had always secretly wanted to blend small Shetlands with Miniatures.

      Wasn't long after people started to wake up to the influence of GMB that Michigan's Silver Penny got hardshipped into AMHR and people REALLY got interested in Sheltands crawling around the Minature gene pool. Now it's the "Cool" thing. LOL.

      They do not have "different" genetics then Shetlands. I don't know if that means pedigrees or DNA, but either way, total crap. Miniatures are just short ponies. Some might actually be ASPC registered shetlands too.

      My personal opinion is Miniatures were bred down from Shetland stock but no records were actually kept on the "midget ponies novelty"

      Miniatures do have some pecularities all their own- bute toxicity can be a real problem, Quest is very dangerous, hyperlimia ("fatty liver" disease) is common and some other things. Our most serious and sadly least understood problem is dwarfism.

      The "Just" lines were an old, old bloodlines from back in the day (going back 30 years now) The Just program produced a couple of winners back then (I think...I can't remember any names) and I can't think of any Just bloodlines that have been of any real concerntrated interest in the past 20 years (maybe I'm drawing a blank) Just one of those "names from the past" sort of things, like Stouts, Ayers, Ohio and Sligo.
      "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings

      Comment


      • #4
        Okay, now I'm super confused because I was told (though I have zero research to back this up and really don't even care THAT much lol) that true minis are miniature HORSES and are genetically (and somewhat structurally) different from ponies. Hence the reason that even if they're the size of a small shetland (which would be bigger than "breed standard") they shouldn't be ridden because they're not designed to carry weight like the true ponies are.

        But then....there's also the thing about shetlands having been intermixed and blah blah so you've got some of these minis running around that are bigger and really are technically "ponies".

        Un-confuse me.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for all the great info littleum! When I call Mocha a pony, it's a compliment. I love ponies!
          Crayola Posse - Pine Green
          Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)
          Autumn Caper (April 27, 1989 - May 24, 2015)
          Murphy (April 28, 1994 - May 5, 2017)

          Comment


          • #6
            I love ponies too. When I brought my Hackney pony home I frequented a certain bulletin board just to learn more about caring for the smaller equine.
            I always got a Hoot out of how so many mini breeders/owners took offense to their "horses" being called ponies by regular, everyday people.

            The one thing I have always wondered about is that I have been told by an equine dental technician and also have read it here and there, that even though they have those tiny heads, they have a full set of teeth that are the same size as an average horse. I guess this can cause a myriad of dental problems for them. When I look at my 15.2 hh Saddlebred's teeth, I wonder how that can be. ??!!??

            What do your mini's teeth look like? Just curious. Are some worse than others, or do they all have these full sized teeth?

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Mocha's teeth are definitely smaller than Murphy's teeth (he's 15.3+ hands) but I wouldn't call them tiny. Of course, Murphy's teeth are much smaller than my warmblood's teeth and she is "tiny" at only 16.0+ hands. I've got caps from both Murphy and the warmblood and there is a big difference in size.
              Crayola Posse - Pine Green
              Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)
              Autumn Caper (April 27, 1989 - May 24, 2015)
              Murphy (April 28, 1994 - May 5, 2017)

              Comment


              • #8
                What about Falabella blood?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falabella_(horse)

                Teeth? I never asked! I just haul them to the Equine surgical clinic to get them done as my horthadontist does not do minis and small ponies.
                "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Personally I would rather call Dumplin' a pony than a miniature horse. Why? Because the ponies are just beyond cute! Those show miniatures...have you seen some of those pics? They have these demonic looking eyes and deformed looking heads...shudder....

                  Give me my rumply dumply bumply Dumplin'. I call him my tiny pony man and he loves it so that is all I need
                  I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                  Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by equineartworks View Post
                    Personally I would rather call Dumplin' a pony than a miniature horse. Why? Because the ponies are just beyond cute! Those show miniatures...have you seen some of those pics? They have these demonic looking eyes and deformed looking heads...shudder....

                    Give me my rumply dumply bumply Dumplin'. I call him my tiny pony man and he loves it so that is all I need
                    DITTO!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Aren't some of them freaky? lol!
                      I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                      Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Miniature teeth are smaller then full sized horse teeth, but are still too proportinaly (sp?) big for their jaws. Lots of problems with hooks in the back, caps, crowding ect. Add into this that an offset bite is considered a disqualifying flaw, so breeders/owners go to great lengths to care for teeth! These two things really combine so that the general knowledge level of equine dentistry is quite high with the community.

                        Falabellas are a seperate breed entirely. Generally when you say "Miniature Horse" you are talking about the American Miniature Horse, which most folks believe were bred down from Shetlands as kind of a novelty midget pony concept (this is disputed though) Falabella origins are well documented and they keep an entirely seperate studbook.

                        Back in the very early 1990s there was a brief "fad" to cross Falabellas with Miniatures. At the time appaloosa coat patterns were hot hot hot (did I say HOT?) and rare within Miniatures, especially with size control (many Appy lines grew oversized) Falabellas came in small spotted sizes. Some were imported up from Argentina for big $$$$ and interbred with Miniatures. AMHA at the time would accept Falabella book papers and issue AMHA papers.

                        It wasn't a terribly long lived experiment and there is very little Falabella blood within our breed today, and no current importing activity. This is just my opinion, but most of the Falabellas I've seen are pretty damn dumpy and I think that's what killed off the experiment pretty quick- spots or not.

                        Not that there weren't a few nice Falabellas (Chianti in the 1980s was stunning, but he was 34" if he was an inch) and I have seen a couple of really nice Falabella-blood Miniatures. But by and large most Miniature programs don't use Falabella blood, I haven't heard of any new imports for at least 10 years and I think it's fair to say that the goals of the Falabella program are different from the goals of most Miniature breeders.

                        There are also 2 other strains of "Miniature" horse found in UK (Bred down from Shetlands) and Aussie/NZ (called "native") These are different strains, the vast majority are very "Thewell" in their look (more traditional pony) Many Aussie/NZ breeders have been importing American stock for the past 25 years or so, an increasing # of UK/European breeders have starting bringing over American stock.

                        I am not aware of any stock coming across the ponds to us here (there have been a few cases of horses being exported then brought back), but I've seen a couple of just really stunning "native breds" from down under that I wouldn't mind having.
                        "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One of my mini's is a 27" coming 3 yr old black leopard appy. His conformation is really pretty good - UNTIL you get to his rather odd head. His head has a bizarrely prominent forehead extreme dish and tiny muzzle. Dwarfism or bad head? or Both? His ability to contribute to the gene pool is going to end on February 19th when he heads to U of I for denutting He has never been bred and is not studdy at all. I was just hoping both testes would descend so the vet would not have to go up after it! Because he is so very small my vet and I decided he should go to U of I for his own protection from complications.
                          "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Woodland View Post
                            One of my mini's is a 27" coming 3 yr old black leopard appy. His conformation is really pretty good - UNTIL you get to his rather odd head. His head has a bizarrely prominent forehead extreme dish and tiny muzzle. Dwarfism or bad head? or Both? His ability to contribute to the gene pool is going to end on February 19th when he heads to U of I for denutting He has never been bred and is not studdy at all. I was just hoping both testes would descend so the vet would not have to go up after it! Because he is so very small my vet and I decided he should go to U of I for his own protection from complications.
                            Can you post a picture?
                            "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by littleum View Post
                              Can you post a picture?
                              OK - I will try to link one up within 24 hrs. I have to figure out how - I am NOT very good at pictures/posting/scanning/working a digital camera - it's pretty sad! He is soooo cute!!!! Even with the homely head -
                              "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by littleum View Post
                                I've seen a couple of just really stunning "native breds" from down under that I wouldn't mind having.
                                If somebody is trying to sell you a "native" horse from Australia or New Zealand, it had better have a pouch.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                                  Okay, now I'm super confused because I was told (though I have zero research to back this up and really don't even care THAT much lol) that true minis are miniature HORSES and are genetically (and somewhat structurally) different from ponies. Hence the reason that even if they're the size of a small shetland (which would be bigger than "breed standard") they shouldn't be ridden because they're not designed to carry weight like the true ponies are.

                                  <snip>

                                  Un-confuse me.
                                  BuddyRoo - that is the same thing I remember hearing ages ago when minis first became popular that they were most definitely not ponies.

                                  So is there a genetic difference or is it size only that makes a mini?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    According to a mini breeder I was acquainted with, the big selling point of miniatures was that they "had no 'pony' blood", that they were bred down from full-size horses. Which was nothing but pure marketing propaganda, and this breeder even said so (at least to people who weren't prospective customers). Since lack of size was the main breed characteristic, people were most definitely going to take shortcuts. And the shortest shortcut of all would be to breed from something already small to begin with.

                                    PS why is Firefox being such a ass today? It won't let me go back in insert anything anywhere except when I edit.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Ok, someone way back when struck gold with the marketing of miniature HORSE. They are ALL pony bred somewhere. The rage now of course is a leggier horse (much nicer to drive than a short legged one), neckier, all round better conformation type horses. I have them, and Hackneys and they are both ponies in my book. The mini is my mini..the hackney is the pony but both are ponies. Here is a picture of my mini, which of course the first show he went to folks told me he was too big (OMG puleese, he's under the limit and he drives gorgeous, not a short bobbing step thank you). But really he is a pony IMHO

                                      Kim
                                      Your village is calling. Apparently their idiot is missing!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by willowoodstables View Post
                                        Here is a picture of my mini, which of course the first show he went to folks told me he was too big (OMG puleese, he's under the limit and he drives gorgeous, not a short bobbing step thank you). But really he is a pony IMHO

                                        Kim
                                        Oh so handsome and what a pretty face. I wouldn't mind having him. If you get tired of him....
                                        "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings

                                        Comment

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