Top 12 smallest horses in the world

What are the smallest horses in the world? We all know the beauty of miniature horses is that they are great for children or smaller, lighter riders who feel that they are not ready for a full-sized horse because the distance these riders will fall after dismounting is less. They are often transitional rides once kids or new riders get used to riding and controlling their mounts.

Horses range in size from ponies that are 6 feet tall to ponies that are only nearly 2 feet tall. The average height of a horse is 15.2 hands or about 5 feet. Any horse with a wingspan of more than 14.2 (57 inches) is classified as a pony, and any smaller horse is classified as a pony or pony. The cornice is about 15 inches long and usually spans between ponies and ponies.

Top 12 smallest horses in the world
Top 12 smallest horses in the world

Characteristics of the Smallest Horse Breeds

Smaller horses will be smaller throughout their lives and mature faster than larger horses. Smaller breeds tend to be stronger and smarter than larger horses, which also means they are often more stubborn and independent. Generally, the larger the breed, the more docile the mount.

Horses and smaller ponies are very powerful. For their size, they can pull or carry heavy loads with greater force than horses. They are generally harder than horses and can withstand a wider range of temperatures. Their coats tend to become thicker in winter, as do their manes and tails, and their hooves tend to be stiffer. Compared to horses, they have heavier bones and shorter legs relative to their bodies.

Read MoreTop 10 Most Popular Horse Breeds In The World

Top 12 smallest horses in the world

1. Mini Horse

Miniature horses are one of the smallest horse breeds. It has two height divisions. Height does not exceed 9.5 gloves (38 inches). Ponies are usually too small to be ridden. But they can pull carts, compete in hurdles and jumps, and serve as therapy animals.

Variety Overview

  • Height: Typically less than 8.5 arms (34 inches) to 9.5 hands (38 inches)
  • Weight: 150 to 350 lbs
  • Physical Characteristics: Small, muscular; same proportions as a large horse

2. Falabella Horse

Falabella is a pony from Argentina. Its ancestry has Andalusian and Iberian ancestry. The horse is named after the Falabella family, who selectively bred ponies to create consistent miniature versions. Falabellas are used as guide animals due to their manageable size and trainable nature.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 6.25 arms (25 inches) to 8.5 arms (34 inches)
  • Weight: 40 to 100 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Fine coat; thin, compact structure; large head

3. Shetland Pony Horses

Don’t let their small size fool you. Shetlands are strong, intelligent and agile horses. But they are also gentle and generally good with children. These horses came from the Shetland Islands in Scotland and were used for agricultural work and for transporting coal in mines. Thick coats help them withstand the cold winter.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 7 arms (28 inches) to 11.5 hands (46 inches)
  • Weight: 400 to 450 lbs
  • Appearance characteristics: small body; broad head; short legs; lush mane and tail

4. Noma Horses

Noma horses are the smallest native horse breed in Japan. These horses were developed in the 17th century primarily as pack animals on steep terrain and remote islands. Today, they are a critically endangered breed, but remain a popular tourist attraction at zoos and farms in Japan.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 10.75 arms (43 inches) to 13.75 arms (55 inches)
  • Weight: 450 lbs
  • Appearance Features: Cylindrical body; sloping buttocks; slender legs; durable hooves

5. Yonaguni Horses

The Yonaguni is another critically endangered Japanese pony breed. It comes from Yonaguni Island in Okinawa. Originally, the breed was used for farm work and transportation. Today it is commonly used for teaching and recreational riding at local schools. As of 2019, there are about 100 remaining on Yonaguni.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 11.5 arms (46 inches) to 11.75 hands (47 inches)
  • Weight: 460 lbs
  • Physical Characteristics: Large head; short neck; long and sloping back

6. Icelandic Horse

Icelandic horses are strong, compact and about 3 inches shorter than a typical horse. Icelanders are larger than ponies, but they have shorter legs. These horses were widely used for herding sheep to control or manage herds. They are resistant to extreme conditions. This gait breed has a “tolt” gait motion that describes the horse’s single-foot speed. Its gait is very comfortable for the rider, and it can carry a person quickly through rough terrain.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 13 to 14 arms (52 and 56 inches)
  • Weight: 730 and 840 lbs
  • Physical Characteristics: Broad shoulders, deep chest, and large, muscular legs

7. Guo Xiamen

It is believed that the history of Guoxia horses in China can be traced back to 2000 years ago. Guoxia originated in Debao, Jinxi and Tianyang counties in China. The horse is only 40 inches tall. Guoxia is a good choice for children. People often used ponies to carry fruit baskets in the orchard, which reflects the meaning of their name “horse under the fruit tree”.

For centuries, the breed was forgotten and considered extinct. However, in 1981, a herd of several thousand Guo Xia ponies was discovered in its native range, along with a herd of ponies. The Breed Association was formed.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 10 hands (40 inches)
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Physical Characteristics: Small head, short neck, small ears, straight back; usually brown, bay, or gray in color

8. Fjord Horse

Fjords are one of the smaller horse breeds in the world. It originated in Norway. Fjords have an average height of 54 inches and are about 6 inches shorter than a typical horse. This variety is used in mountains and farmland. It usually pulls coaches. They’re gentle and easy to ride, even for adults.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 13.1 to 14.3 hands (53 to 59 inches)
  • Weight: 880 to 1,100 pounds
  • Appearance: Strong, arched neck, strong legs, fit, muscular body; medium-sized, clear head, broad and flat forehead, straight or slightly slanted face, small ears, large eyes.

9. Kentucky Riding (Class B)

A Kentucky Class B mountain horse is 11 inches shorter than a typical horse. This is a smaller Kentucky Mountain saddle. Its average height is 49 inches. This horse is popular with beginners, young riders and older kids. The horse is docile, intelligent, calm and quiet. It is also known for its light, lithe gait. Kentucky Mountain specimens over 14.2 inches tall are “Class A” horses.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 11 to 14.1 hands (44 to 57 inches)
  • Weight: 950 lbs
  • Appearance: Muscular, flat face, medium length, curved neck, deep chest and sloping shoulders.

10. Haflinger Horse

The Haflinger horse originated in the province of Haflig in Austria. This horse is about 3 inches shorter than a typical horse; its average height is about 56 inches. Horses are smart, strong, compact, and beautiful. The Haflinger is a great family horse that can carry children and adults alike. Haflingers are known for their great personalities and temperament. They often perform at costume and dance competitions and western rodeos.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 13.2 to 15 arms
  • Weight: 800 to 1,300 poundsPhy
  • Appearance:: Short, stocky body with strong nails and legs; pale yellow to dark chestnut or sorrel, often with white spots on the legs

11. American Pony

The American horse, a breed that was crossed with Arabian, Appaloosa, and Shetland horses in Iowa in the 1050s, is a versatile and beautiful spotted horse. They were bred for riding in the West and used in British riding and endurance training. Their most important features are the Appaloosa markings and a height requirement of up to about 13 spans.

Other physical qualities include having a pony body and a shaky Arab face.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 11 to 13 hands (44 to 52 inches)
  • Weight: 770 to 880 lbs
  • Physical Characteristics: Slightly curved face, broad chest, strong body; Appaloosa color sample

12. Quarter Pony

American ponies are a good transition from pony to first pony for young riders as they grow up. It has a similar body and appearance to the American Quarter Horse, but is a separate breed. The breed was developed by mixing ponies, ponies, Appaloosas and American ponies.

They grow to a wingspan of 14 and are good-natured ponies. They’re small and quiet enough for young adults and beginners, but not too small for adults. These clever ponies are well trained and therefore also suitable for experienced riders.

Variety Overview

  • Height: 13 to 14 arms
  • Weight: 800 to 1100 lbs
  • Appearance: short and broad head, small ears, large eyes, slightly arched neck; sloping, pointed shoulders, broad and deep chest; short back, broad and deep hind legs

Horse breeds to avoid

If you’re an adult and plan to ride these smaller horses, there are two breeds to get rid of entirely: Pony and Falabella.

Only small children up to 25kg are allowed to ride these ponies. As a rule of thumb, a horse can carry 20% of a person’s weight including paws.

Since Falabellas are the smallest of the horses, some weighing as little as 20kg, they are never ridden to avoid injuring the pony’s back. Children can also ride the Shetland, Noma and Yonaguni breeds, but only if the horses are heavy and in good shape.

If you are heavier, 170 pounds or more, make sure the pony or pony is at least 950 to 1000 pounds; it will be able to carry your weight safely.


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