The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.
Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
The Furry Critter Network
Miniature Horses Breed Description
Size: Must measure not more than 34 inches at the withers, at the last hairs of the mane.
Head: In proportion to length of neck and body. Broad forehead with large prominent eyes, set wide apart. Comparatively short distance between eyes and muzzle. Profile straight or slightly concave below the eyes. Large nostrils. Clean, refined muzzle. Even bite.
Ears: Medium in size. Pointed. Carried alertly, with tips curving slightly inward.
Throat-Latch: Clean and well defined, allowing ample flexion at the poll.
Neck: Flexible, lengthy, in proportion to body and type and blending smoothly into the withers.
Shoulder: Long, sloping and well-angulated, allowing a free-swinging stride and alert carriage of head and neck. Well muscled forearm.
Body: Well muscled, with ample bone and substance. Balanced and well proportioned. Short back and loins in relation to length of underline. Smooth and generally level top-line. Deep girth and flank. Trim barrel.
Hindquarters: Long, well-muscled hip, thigh and gaskin. Highest point of croup to be same height as withers. Tail set neither excessively high or low, but smoothly rounding off rump.
Legs: Set straight and parallel when viewed from front or back. Straight, true and squarely set, when viewed from the side with hooves pointing directly ahead. Pasterns sloping about 45 degrees and blending smoothly, with no change of angle, from the hooves to the ground. Hooves to be round and compact, trimmed as short as practicable for an unshod horse. Smooth, fluid gait in motion.
Color: Any color or marking patterns, and any eye color, is equally acceptable. The hair should be lustrous and silky.
General Impression: A small, sound, well-balanced horse, possessing the correct conformation characteristics required of most breeds. Refinement and femininity in the mare. Boldness and masculinity in the stallion. The general impression should be one of symmetry, strength, agility and alertness. Since the breed objective is the smallest possible perfect horse, preference in judging shall be given the smaller horse, other characteristics being approximately equal.
The American Miniature Horse is a unique breed, the limiting characteristic of which is size. It must not measure in excess of 34 inches in height, which is measured at the withers, at the last hairs of the mane. It must be a sound, well-balanced horse, possessing the proper conformation characteristics which are common to most of the larger breeds. In fact, if there were no size reference, the miniature horse might give the illusion of being a full-sized horse. The American Miniature Horse gives the impression of strength, agility, and alert intelligence and is available in all possible colors.
The American Miniature Horse extracted from many sources in the creation of the breed. Undeniably, it utilized the blood of the English and Dutch mine horses, that were brought to this country in the 19th century and were used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. It also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony, several of which appear in the pedigrees of some miniatures today. In the past decade, several breeders have imported miniature horses from England, Holland, Belgium, and West Germany, while others have selectively bred miniatures from the larger breeds of horses.
In 1978, The American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) was formed. It is now the only registry in existence that deals exclusively with true Miniatures, 34 inches and under. Ponies over 34 inches are not considered Miniatures; they were not in the beginning, and they are not today (excluding the AMHR miniatures that measure 38 inches and under).
The American Miniature Horse as a breed is currently being standardized. The American Miniature Horse Association was organized and incorporated in July of 1978 to maintain a registry and stud-book. A Standard of Perfection was adopted in 1978 and that two basic body types, a "draft" type and a fine-boned "refined" type, were present in the existing foundation stock, the Standard called for a blending of types into an elegant little horse.
Miniature horses are generally bred to be friendly and to interact well with people. For this reason they are often kept as family pets, though they still retain natural horse behavior, including a natural fight or flight instinct, and must be treated like an equine, even if they primarily serve as a companion animal. They are also trained as service animals, akin to assistance dogs for people with disabilities. Miniature horses are also trained for driving, equine agility, and other competitive horse show type events.
There is controversy over whether miniature horses are suitable as assistance animals for persons with disabilities. Those who favor their use point out that horses live much longer than dogs and can be trained to perform similar tasks. Another plus is that some individuals, particularly from Muslim cultures, consider dogs unclean, but accept horses.
Opponents of their use raise concerns that miniature horses are prey animals, with a fight-or-flight instinct that may limit their usefulness, and for legal reasons. In the US, where they are legally classified as livestock and require outdoor stabling for good health, their use is limited to owners with access to a large yard in communities having tolerant land use regulations. In terms of practical considerations, they note that it is difficult for even a miniature horse to do things such as lie down in the seat of a taxicab or to stay in a hotel room for extended periods of time.
Generally quite hardy, often living longer on average than some full-sized horse breeds; the average life span of miniature horses is from 25 to 35 years.
Dwarfism is a concern within the miniature horse world. Dwarf horses, while often setting world records for size, are not considered to have desirable traits, generally have incorrect conformation, and may have significant health and soundness issues. Therefore, many miniature horse registries try to avoid accepting minis affected by dwarfism for breeding stock registration. In 2014, a commercial DNA test became available for one set of dwarfism mutations. The four mutations of the ACAN gene are known to cause dwarfism or aborted fetuses in miniature horses. The test does not detect the mutations that cause skeletal atavism in miniature horses and some ponies, or the osteochondrodysplasia dwarfism seen in some horse breeds.
"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"
If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)
Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network
Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. RescueShelter.com is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.