American Miniature Horse

The Horse for Everyone!

American Miniature 1

© American Miniature Horse Association



The American Miniature Horse Association is the world's leading Miniature Horse registry with over 185,000 horses and more than 11,000 members in 38 countries and provinces.

Founded in 1978, AMHA promotes the breeding, use and perpetuation of a standard of equine excellence in miniature, separate and apart from ponies and other small equine. Horses registered with AMHA must meet the Association standard of perfection and cannot exceed 34 inches in height at the withers as measured from the last hairs of the mane.

American Miniature Rebecca Myers
 © American Miniature Horse Association


Organized by a group of dedicated horsemen, the American Miniature Horse Association was formed in 1978 in Arlington, Texas. The goal was simple, to encourage the breeding, exhibiting, use and perpetuation of the American Miniature Horse, separate and apart from ponies and other small equines. Until that time, breeders of American Miniature Horses had limited options available for the registration, exhibition and promotion of their horses.



The result of nearly 400 years of selective breeding, historians tend to support the Miniature Horse breed as a derivative of many sources. In prehistoric times small horse breeds were most likely the products of surviving harsh natural climates and limited feed. Today, knowledge of genetics has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality.

The first mention of a small horse being imported into the United States was in 1888; and research shows little public awareness of true Miniatures until 1960. Popular belief is that American Miniature horses utilized the blood of English and Dutch mine horses brought into this country in the 19th century and used in some Appalachian coal mines as late as 1950. The American Miniature Horses, as documented in the pedigrees of Miniatures today, also drew upon the blood of the Shetland pony. Throughout its colorful past, the Miniature Horse breed had been bred for pets, novelty, research, monetary gain, mining work, exhibition and royal gifts.

Size. No bigger than a large dog, American Miniature Horses are "miniature" versions of well-balanced horses, possessing confirmation characteristics found in most equine breeds. Miniature Horses can be found in a rainbow of colors and types.

Personality. Eager to please, the American Miniature Horse makes a gentle and affectionate companion for individuals of any age or ability.

Versatility. Though petite, Miniature Horses are extremely versatile and excel in a variety of disciplines including driving, halter, jumping, obstacle and others.


Breed Standards

American Miniature Reflection
 © American Miniature Horse Association


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 impressions should be one of symmetry, strength, agility and alertness. Since the breed objective is the smallest possible horse, the preference in judging shall be given the smaller horse, other characteristics being approximately equal.

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 head/neck carriage. 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 nor 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 pattern and any eye color is equally acceptable. The hair should be lustrous and silky.


The Breed Today

American Miniature 3
© American Miniature Horse Association


AMHA has taken great strides since its inception to ensure the accuracy of pedigrees. One such step was closing the Registry on December 31, 1987, which allows only horses with AMHA-registered parents to be registered. To further ensure the breed's integrity, all foals born after December 31, 1995 must be blood-typed and/or DNA-tested before any of their offspring can be registered.

A nonprofit organization, the American Miniature Horse Association is membership governed with all major decisions related to the business of the Association being made by those members attending the Annual Meeting. Regional directors are elected by mail from 13 regions in the United States and Canada. In addition to preserving the integrity and maintaining the accuracy of its bloodline records, AMHA offers rewarding programs, expanded opportunities and a wide variety of resources designed to expand your involvement with the American Miniature Horse. 

Steph Rolex
 © American Miniature Horse Association


As one of the world's fastest growing equine associations, AMHA continues to enjoy increased numbers in registrations, transfers, show entries and memberships each year. The official publication of the American Miniature Horse Association, Miniature Horse World, displays the world of the American Miniature Horse with entertaining stories, educational articles and breathtaking photos as well as news and information.


Additional Information

For additional information contact:

    American Miniature Horse Association
    5601 S Interstate 35 W
    Alvarado, TX 76009
    (817) 783-5600
    [email protected]