An elegant, scaled-down version of the large-size horse, the American Miniature Horse cannot be taller than 34 inches at the withers. The Miniature Horses of today are stylish, well-proportioned and the product of nearly 400 years of selected breeding.
The ideal Miniature Horse of today, according to the American Miniature Horse Association's Standard of Perfection, must be small (standing at or less than 34 inches tall as measured from the last hairs of the mane,) must be sound, well-balanced, and possess the correct conformation characteristics required of most breeds. The general impression should be one of symmetry, strength, agility and alertness, with refinement and femininity in the mare and boldness and masculinity in the stallion-in other words, must be the smallest possible perfect horse. The Miniature comes in all possible horse colors.
Miniature Horses are seen in performance classes - halter obstacle, hunter jumper, showmanship, costume, liberty, and driving. A variety of driving classes are popular at the more than 250 AMHA scantioned horse shows nationwide, and include pleasure driving, roadster driving, obstacle driving, single and multiple hitches and fine viceroy.
Because of their gentle, affectionate nature and small size, a Miniature Horse is also an excellent companion. They are often used as pets for young children, adults, senior citizens, and the handicapped. A small child may be intimidated by a large horse, yet that same child will show an eagerness to embrace and hug a Miniature foal. The foals are particularly lovable due to their small size, ranging from 16 to 21 inches in height at birth. Handicapped people have found the Miniature horse an excellent substitute for the full-size horse they may not be able to physically handle.