What is a Miniature Horse?

Mini & Biggie
A Miniature Horse should be a perfectly scaled down version of a quality riding horse. At maturity it should measure not more than 87cm (34 inches) at the withers. We do not seek to miniaturise any particular breed, but would give as a guide to type, somewhere between a Hack and a Hunter as being the correct height to weight ratio. The miniature horse should have the same conformation and movement as would be desirable in its full sized counterpart. It is definitely not a dwarf or an undersized pony but should have been selectively bred to ensure both its own correctness and suitability for breeding.

To be eligible for registration onto the BMHS Stud Book a foal must have two BMHS registered parents.The only other access to BMHS Stud Book registration is through assessment. Only adult horses can apply, and the hardship registration fee is dependent upon the score achieved from a panel of three judges. Owners must be BMHS members, for information on becoming a member, see our Join page. For more information on registrations, hardshipping, and assessments, see our Register Your Horse page.

Because their tiny size attracts owners who may not be able to handle a full size horse, a good temperament is most important. We have owners and handlers aged from under five to over seventy including disabled and even wheel chair bound, so bad behavior cannot be tolerated. Our Miniatures are in every way horses so have the same requirements as any equine both for nutrient and housing and they require the companionship of their own species. Properly introduced they can make suitable companions to larger horses particularly when stabled or traveling. However, they have so much to offer in their own right with full size personalities and characters. They are quick to learn and eager to please and can be taught to jump, perform dressage movements, complete obstacle courses and also to drive, being able to pull approximately 1.5 times their own weight. They can even be ridden by tiny jockeys. Happy to be the centre of attention our Miniatures enjoy visiting schools and hospices as well as making television appearances.

However small, they are in every way horses and so have the same requirements as any other horse, both for nutrition, housing and veterinary care.


What is the BMHS?

The British Miniature Horse Society was founded in 1992 to promote the welfare, breeding and showing of miniature horses. Starting earlier as a registry, it became recognised by DEFRA as a Stud Book for equines measuring 34 inches and below at the wither at maturity (we now use the metric equivalent of 87cms). We are also a Passport Issuing Organisation and can issue passports to horses that are not registered on our Stud Book.

The Society operates a grading assessment procedure (hardship) for allowing horses from non BMHS registered stock onto its Stud Book in an effort to ensure that the best possible genetics are available for improving the breed. Visit our Register Your Horse page, for information on registering horses hardshipping through assessment.

Anyone can become a member, whether you own a horse or not. New members receive a comprehensive Hand Book , with details of all our services, and newsletters are published regularly to update information. Visit our Join page for more information on becoming a member.

The Society organises various events including Teach-ins, the Spring Show and an International Breed Show.

Shows are arranged country wide, with most holding qualifying classes for either The Royal International Horse Show or The Horse of the Year Show. (Please note, we are the ONLY society that offer Championships at these prestigious shows & beware of imitations from other showing societies who offer ‘miniature horse of the year’ titles at their shows.)

We are happy to offer advice to perspective purchasers and on all aspects of keeping, breeding and showing miniature horses. Our network of committee members and experienced breeders can put you in touch with people in your area who are willing to help you.

As the Mother Stud Book for the British Miniature Horse we have members in 12 EU Countries with our passports and registration documents being accepted throughout Europe. This also allows for Europe wide Breeding programs.


Advice on Purchasing a Miniature Horse

UNLESS YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED HORSE OWNER IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU HAVE THE HORSE EXAMINED BY A VET OF YOUR CHOOSING. This will at least ensure that you purchase a healthy animal. However, this does not guarantee you are buying a good miniature horse.

If your don’t know what makes a good miniature horse, then it is best to seek disinterested advice from someone who does. Try to see as many horses as you can, a Show is a good place to do this, and to meet other owners and breeders. If possible, see both parents, especially when buying a foal. This should give a better indication of your adult horse than its appearance at a few months of age.

Generally you should expect to see a clean, active animal, clear eyed, no runny nose etc. and with no evidence of coat infestation. Its teeth should be level and even, with upper and lower sets meeting without protrusion. Movement should be straight and fluid, feet correctly trimmed.

NEVER BUY A HORSE WITHOUT A PASSPORT, and any parentage should be verifiable in a registration document from a recognised Stud Book. Without this you have no proof of the horse’s breeding and it would not be eligible for registration with the BMHS. Information about breeding shown in a passport is not always proven. Always check with the Breed Society.

Measure the horse yourself or get a vet to do so and ensure that it is within the correct height range for its age. Measuring should take place on a flat even surface, with a measuring stick, and the taken from the ground to the withers. Especially if close to maximum permitted height for age you could ask for a guarantee of adult height from the seller. See our Height chart 2018 for guidance.



The BMHS is willing to offer advice on any purchases that are made, however, the Society’s advice does not guarantee that a miniature horse purchased will be a guaranteed winner.