are many different versions as to where the miniature horse originated. There is
evidence that small horses existed as early as 600 A.D.
Celtic carvings from before the Norse invasions (800 A.D.) clearly show
very small horses. However, the first written articles were found in England in
1765. These articles mentioned a tiny black stallion measuring only 30 inches
and a little mare only 28 inches high. It is believed that these little horses
were then being bred as playmates for the rich and royal. The oldest breed of
miniature horses is the Falabella, which originated in Argentina, where the
Falabella family began selectively breeding small horses in the 1860's. Only
small South American horses were used and no pony blood was ever introduced.
Thus, the Falabella breed is noted for its excellent conformation, intelligence
and manner. The Guiness Book of Records refers the Falabella as the smallest
breed of horses in the world.
small horses were also bred to work in the English and Dutch mines and brought
into this country during the 19thcentury to work in the Appalachian
coal mines as late as 1950. In the past decade, several breeders have imported
miniature horses from England, Holland, Belgium and West Germany.