-History and Development-
Colorful myths abound about the
origin of the Miniature Horse. Contemporary historians tend to support the
breed as a derivative many sources. In prehistoric times, small horse
breeds were likely the products of surviving harsh natural climates and
limited feed. Too, with knowledge of genetics, it is possible to breed
specifically for size. It is known that, at various times in equine
history, Miniature Horses have been bred for pets, novelty, research,
monetary gain, mining work, exhibition, and royal gifts. In addition to
the prehistoric evidence of small equids, it is speculated that the
Miniature Horse is a result of nearly 400 years of selective breeding from
The first mention of a small horse being imported
to the United States was in 1888; and it appears, there was little public
awareness of true Miniatures during the years preceding 1960. It is
believed that the American Miniature Horse utilized the blood of the
English and Dutch mine horses brought to this country in the 19th century
and used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. The American
Miniature Horse, as documented in the pedigrees of some Miniatures today,
also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony.
In 1978, the American Miniature Horse
Association, Inc., was organized to aid and encourage the breeding, use,
and perpetuation of the American Miniature Horse, separate and apart from ponies
and other small equines. According to AMHA's Rules and Regulations and
Bylaws, an animal exceeding 34 inches in height is not eligible for
registration with the Association.
of Perfection was adopted at the Annual Meeting of The American
Miniature Horse Association on October 14, 1978. Amended at the Annual
Meeting of The American Miniature Horse Association on October 30, 1988.
The American Miniature
Horse Association is a member-governed international breed
association that registers the American Miniature Horse, produces
national events and provides information toward the breeding,
exhibiting, use and perpetuation of the American Miniature Horse.