One of today's most popular miniatures is the Falabella. A miniature horse rather than pony type, the Falabella takes its name from the Falabella family who developed the horse at its ranch in Argentina. Although years of downbreeding have limited its strength and therefore its rideability, the Falabella makes an excellent pet and can be used as a harness pony.
The Falabella is the smallest horse in the world, standing up to 7 hh. The Falabella is known as a horse-type rather than a pony-type because of its proportions and character. Although downsizing has caused a few weaknesses in the physical characteristics of the horse, namely the tendency for the hocks to be slightly crooked and the lack of well-formed leg bone, the horse is quite attractive. With a thick and luxuriant tail and mane, the Falabella shows its relation to the Shetland. The head is heavy and large compared with the body. Any color is acceptable in the breed, but there has been a concentration of Appaloosa markings in recent breeding.
The Falabella was developed by the family of the same name on their Recreo de Roca Ranch near Buenos Aires, Argentina. The horse-like appearance of the breed stems from breeding the smallest Shetland ponies with a very small Thoroughbred the family owned. Since then, the breed has been deliberately crossed with the smallest animals and inbred in an attempt to create a near-perfect horse-type in miniature. One of the smallest Falabella's on record was the mare Sugar Dumpling, weighing only 30 lb. and standing only 20 inches high.
At one point the Falabella family was said to have a herd of four hundred perfect specimens. But with high prices for such an exotic pet, the Falabella is not widely found throughout the world. The horse is said to be highly intelligent and loves performing. It is said that in just a few hours, an owner can teach the horse to shake hands, bow, or do other tricks.
1. Shetland Pony 2. Thoroughbred
For more information:
Falabella Miniature Horse Association