Can you tell the difference between a Falabella Miniature Horse, a Miniature Horse, and a Shetland Pony? Check out the pictures and then see how you fared against the answers.
The first picture is a Miniature Horse, the second a Shetland Pony, and the third is the Falabella. While these three breeds could be easily mistaken for one another, the important part is to look at their heritage and bloodlines.
From the FMHA
The Falabella Breed has it’s own FMHA Registration Association to certify their pure Falabella ancestry. They have been kept pure by the Falabella Farms in Argentina and by small groups of dedicated Breeders all over the World who want to preserve their precious heritage.
The Falabella is extremely rare. There are less than 900 Falabella’s registered in the FMHA. Only small herds are known to exist in most countries and their number is estimated to be only a few thousand in the entire World. Over the past 10 years, they have been gaining popularity among breeders because of their rarity. This is creating a strong demand and limited supply due to the small number in existence. Most Falabella’s reside at the Falabella Farms in Argentina and in scattered smaller groups throughout the USA, Canada, the UK and other Countries in the World. . They are highly prized and valued by those who own them.
Pure Falabella’s make up a tiny part of the ever growing number of AMHA and AMHR registered American Miniatures. They are sometimes hard to aquire due to their limited numbers and strong appeal. They are favorites among Falabella Fanciers who want just a few “special” Mini’s and Falabella Breeders who are always looking to aquire Herdsire prospects and brood stock.An FMHA Registration Certificate authenticates the pure Falabella ancestry and makes them a very prestigious Miniature Breed. There is much “recorded history” of the famous Falabella in many Miniature Horse books, and they are well known by all professional Breeders as one of the original true Miniatures. Falabella’s are creating strong appeal to breeders who want something special and “different.” A growing number of Miniature Breeders are becoming Falabella Breeders or adding Falabella’s to their own breeding program. If you want a Miniature Horse, you can find them in any State, but If you want a FALABELLA Miniature, you can ONLY get them from a FALABELLA BREEDER. FOR THIS REASON, The FALABELLA is a good investment with a long term outlook to HOLD VALUE due to the current small number of available breeding stock. The supply of Falabella Miniatures is very limited, so demand and marketability will remain very good for many years into the future.
The Shetland pony is a breed of pony originating in the Shetland Isles. Shetlands range in size from a minimum height of approximately 28 inches to an official maximum height of 42 inches (10.2 hands, 107 cm) at the withers. (11.2 hands for American Shetlands) Shetland ponies have heavy coats, short legs and are considered quite intelligent. They are a very strong breed of pony, used for riding, driving, and pack purposes.
Shetland Ponies are hardy and strong, in part because the breed developed in the harsh conditions of the Shetland Isles. In appearance, Shetlands have a small head, sometimes with a dished face, widely-spaced eyes and small and alert ears. The original breed has a short, muscular neck, compact, stocky bodies, and short, strong legs and a shorter than normal cannon bone in relation to their size. A short broad back and deep girth are universal characteristics as is a springy stride. Shetlands have long thick manes and tails and a dense double winter coat to withstand harsh weather. Different breed registries have different height standards, but the outside ranges are between a minimum of 7 hands and 11.2 hands (28 to 46 inches (71 to 117 cm)).
From Oklahoma State University
The American Miniature is a “height” breed; they must measure no more than 34 inches in height at maturity. This measurement is the vertical distance from the last hairs at the base of the mane to the ground. These tiny equine are replicas of their larger breed cousins and will look like Quarter Horses, Arabs, Thoroughbreds, and Draft Horses.
The American Miniature Horse Association’s Standard of Perfection calls for a small, sound, well-balanced horse, possessing correct conformation characteristics. These horses are not dwarves, runts, or “genetic” errors, but are produced by selectively breeding down in size yet maintaining as near-perfect conformation as possible.
Miniature Horses thrive on attention and display a curiosity and intelligence that make them delightful companions, allowing people of all ages to enjoy them. People who find that they can no longer handle the 1,000 pound-plus horse do not have to give up their passion for horses, they may simply switch over to the smaller animal. Those who have never experienced that very special thrill of ownership, yet always wanted to, are finding that the “mini” is a wonderful opportunity. These little horses have already proved their worth in therapeutic programs for the disabled child or adult, as well as with the aged. People in high-pressure jobs find them to be a wonderful aid in relieving stress.