Rabu, 09 Maret 2011

Owning Miniature Horses - The Smallest Of The Small

When it comes to pet ownership, we all have our preferences; the debate of dog versus cat can go on indefinitely. But for those who prefer horses, the care and feeding of their animal suddenly becomes a far greater undertaking then simply housing a smaller, more domesticated animal. 
Horses are large animals that come with an even larger responsibility for their owners. But for some people, ownership of miniature horses allows them to enjoy all that attracts them to horses, but on a much smaller scale.

Miniature horses are simply the result of hundreds of years of careful and purposeful breeding that has taken place all over the world. Today, The American Miniature Horse Association, established in 1978, continues to set the guidelines for these horses. To date, they are the only organization working to standardize the specifications.

In order to be defined as miniature horses, they must not reach higher than 34 inches in height. However, the differentiation between standard sized horses and these horses stops here; the physical features actually mirror that of their full-sized counterparts; but are simply in proportion to their size. If you were to look at one with no basis for size comparison, it would look like a typical, average sized horse.

Miniature horses are shown in competition just as their full-sized cousins. But their manageable size makes them especially instrumental in working with special needs individuals who wish to ride, but must avoid the larger animals for safety reasons. Because of their size, they are also child-friendly; children often learn to ride on these smaller, more controllable breeds.

Those who own miniature horses will also tell you of the unique opportunity they have to enjoy all that is special about a horse while still enjoying all that comes with having the ability to hold an animal in your lap!

The care is just as important as that for larger horses. Much of the standard care remains the same - including grooming, veterinary care, exercise and nutrition, and shelter - with special attention paid to eating. The smaller digestive track puts them at risk for intestinal problems; owners must be alert to the special feeding requirements of the breed. Owners will be happy to note, however, that the care for the horses costs significantly less than the care for full-sized horses.

For those interested in owning one, it is important to do a fair amount of research. Just as with any breed of horse, temperaments vary from horse to horse. Seek out and get to know a reputable breeder who can assist you in finding the horse that's right for you and your family.

Owning a horse of any size must be taken on only after careful consideration. But if you find that you enjoy all the characteristics of a horse, but are put off by its normally grand size, you may want to investigate miniature horses; all the beauty of a horse in one tiny package.

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