Mini equine perfection at play

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Miniature horses at play on rainy summer day in Home, Wash.

If you’re like me, you drive by this pasture in Home, Wash., every day on your commute to work. The white fence, yellow wild flowers, red stable and miniature horses are hard to miss.

This place is one of the highlights of my drive. It just makes me smile, reminding me of where I live. It is a fitting example of two worlds: rural bliss and urban convenience.

The miniature horses have grazed this pasture for the last three months, at least. The sight of these mini equine specimens always made me wonder what and why they are bred.

Here is what the American Miniature Horse Association says about the breed:

“The American Miniature Horse is a beautiful, small, well balanced horse that if all reference to size were eliminated, would have the same conformational proportions of other full sized light breeds. The mares demonstrate refinement and feminine qualities. The mature stallions show boldness and masculinity. The general impression is to be a balanced individual regardless of size with symmetry, strength, agility and alertness. Movement is strong, natural and athletic. In motion the horse will exude athleticism as demonstrated by suppleness of the shoulders and engaged hocks. In judging when characteristics are almost equal, preference must be given to the smaller horse.”

This group has around 12,000 members in over 30 countries. Their web site says that they exist to promote “the breeding, use and perpetuation of a standard of equine excellence in miniature.”

A miniature horse “cannot exceed 34 inches in height measured from the last hairs of the mane.” The animal’s height is primarily what distinguishes it from its full-size cousins.

Now I know.

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