Mini horses, donkeys, and mules | Living the Country Life

Mini horses, donkeys, and mules

These tiny animals are big on popularity and personality.
  • Big personality in a little package

    They may not be My Little Pony, but these exquisite animals are just as cute. Miniature horses, donkeys, and mules are increasing in popularity. Their ability to perform a variety of tasks – from pulling to jumping, from backyard pets to therapy animals – makes them loved by enthusiasts. Here is a bit about some itty-bitty breeds. 

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of the American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC).

    American Shetland

    This breed is considered completely separate from its European ancestor. The American Shetland has been modified with breeding influence from the Hackney pony. It is more refined than the original English Shetland, with a lighter frame and animated movement. Because of their high action motion, they are especially popular in carriage driving. Like their European relatives, they are also extremely versatile and are often used as riding and jumping ponies for children. They can measure up to 46 inches and can be registered as miniatures if they meet either registry standard. Their spirited but sweet character is well loved by fans of this modern breed.

    American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC) - web: - email: - ph: 309-263-4044


    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of Janet Hays at the Windemere Miniature Horse Farm.

    Miniature Horse

    The miniature horse is recognized by two American registries: the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) and the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA). The AMHR registers horses 38 inches and under when measured at the last hair of the mane, while the AMHA only accepts horses 34 inches or less. Both registries recognize other breeds as miniatures if they meet the height requirement – even color registry breeds like the Pinto. The AMHA, however, prides itself on being more particular with their miniatures. Miniatures can be registered in both, but the AMHA boasts selectively refined miniatures. Nevertheless, the miniature horse is a breed of its own, available in every color imaginable. Because of their size, they are often used for companion pets and therapy animals.

    American Miniature Horse Registry - web: - email: - ph: 309-263-4044

    American Miniature Horse Association - web: - email: - ph: 817-783-5600

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of the Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society Council.


    The stocky, strong Shetland pony has been around for over 2,000 years. Originating on the Shetland Islands of Scotland, they evolved into a particularly hardy breed, the strongest breed of horse in relation to its size. Historically, this toughness made them the perfect candidates to work long hours in the field or coal mine. Today, these qualities make them suitable for a variety of work, including driving, jumping, and even racing. Two kinds of Shetlands are accepted in the UK Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society – a heavier boned type and a lighter, less robust type. They can be anywhere up to 42 inches and have been known to be as small as 26 inches. Shetlands are said to be brave, intelligent, and willing, making them a great child's pony. 

    UK Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society - web: - email: - location: Scotland

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of the Falabella Miniature Horse Association.


    Only a few thousand of this rare breed are thought to exist in the entire world. In order to sport the name, Falabellas must exhibit true bloodlines tied to their Argentinean descendants. This rarity, in addition to their small stature, makes them highly desirable in the horse world. They are considered a true miniature horse and can be as tiny as 24 inches. One of their most notable qualities is their vast array of colors. Falabellas come in any color or pattern, but their signature is varieties of appaloosa. They are often shown in halter and pulling classes, and they are strong for their petite size. Friendly by nature, their temperament adds to their popularity.

    Falabella Miniature Horse Association - web: - email: - ph: 847-546-6655

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of Kathy Van Epps at Fleur de Lys Farm.

    Miniature Donkey

    These little donkeys are originally from the Mediterranean Islands. Brought to America by Anheuser Busch, their fan following has since exploded. They come in a variety of colors and often posses the familiar cross on their backs. When born, they weigh about 25 pounds and grow to be no taller than 36 inches. They tend to live longer than other equine family members, often 30 years. Miniature donkeys are adored for their kind temperament. They are noted for being gentle, friendly, and loving, and they make wonderful family pets.

    National Miniature Donkey Association - web: - email: - ph: 315-336-0154

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Photo courtesy of Mules and More magazine.

    Miniature Mule

    Yes, such a thing exists. Miniature mules are harder to come by, partly because they are not as popular and partly because mules are born sterile. They are produced by crossing a male miniature donkey (a jack) with a female miniature horse. When bred the other way around, with a female miniature donkey (a jenny), the outcome is a henny. This kind of offspring usually resembles the donkey traits, while mini mules more closely mirror the miniature horse. Like standard mules, miniature mules are smart, hardworking, and cautious. Their intelligence and careful mind-set are often – and mistakenly – confused with stubbornness, something mini mule lovers are quick to point out. 

    American Donkey and Mule Society - web: - email: - ph: 972-219-0781

    Date Published: August 24, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012

Latest Blogs

Betsy's Backyard |
5/25/18 | 11:05 AM
My daughter, Caroline, said she missed my blog, so I'm going to download a few more
Betsy's Backyard |
3/12/18 | 1:18 PM
The Living the Country Life Spring/Summer 2018 issue comes out this month. I loved more

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login