Mini HorseSmall in size, big in heart, miniature horses have a surprisingly impressive skill set.

“But what do you do with them?” It’s a question miniature horse owners are inevitably asked at some stage, and the response can be far more involved than many people anticipate.

Miniature horses – like their larger counterparts – each have their own personality. However, they tend to share a few common characteristics, including great intelligence and willingness to please. This makes the diminutive horses highly trainable. The growth of dedicated miniature horse shows, as well as miniature horse classes at regular agricultural shows, has given the breed greater opportunities to demonstrate their versatility.

Along with traditional halter classes, many shows now provide what are broadly termed ‘performance’ classes. These incorporate lunge line events, plus hunter (jumping) and trail classes that are based on Western models. A trail class for instance, may see the horse and handler complete 6-8 movements including backing, side passes, pivots, straddles as well as negotiating bridges, conesMini Horse and gates.

Unlike Western events, miniature performance classes are performed in-hand, so rather than using traditional aids, the handler must provide verbal and physical cues. These cues can be quite unique to one horse/handler combination and this tends to see a strong rapport develop between miniatures and their handler.

Along with performance, show jumping and halter classes, there is also burgeoning interest in miniature horses harness events. For many former big horse enthusiasts who no longer have the time or confidence to ride under saddle, miniature harness events provide a new avenue to enjoy showing horses competitively – or simply become a part of a like-minded community of horse lovers.

The AMHS Gladstone Miniature Horse and Pony Extravaganza will be held on the 17th & 18th June, 2017 at the Gladstone showgrounds.  This is a pre-nominated event with entries closing on the 2nd June, 2017.

There are over 200 classes over the 2 days and catering for all ponies, Miniature, Small, Little and Foundation Horses, as well as Purebred American Shetland and Derivative American Shetland classes. Sashes and trophies will be awarded for all Champion and Reserve Champion place-getters with Garlands, sashes and trophies for all Supreme winners.  A Supreme of Supreme Award will be presented.   The Sunday program will comprise of all performance and youth classes.  Trophies and sashes will be awarded for all Performance Champions and Hi-Point Champions in each division.

The AMHS Gladstone Miniature Horse and Pony Extravaganza is open to the public – Free Entry.  Come and see these remarkable at their best!  Catering is also available for your convenience.

Nicola Field – for Liana Wynne