Top 10 Small Horse Breeds for Pets (With Pictures)

Horses have been in existence for many years, and they come in different sizes and colors. 

Some are very beautiful while others are relatively small. Some small breeds of horses are not big enough to ride, they can act as wonderful pet companions. 

Small horses have lots of strength, and they can be very useful. They can be used to carry heavy loads, carry saddled individuals, or even help in mines. 

Generally, they can make excellent pets and still be used as service animals. 

In this article, we are going to look at the top 10 small horse breeds that can be kept as pets.

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What Are Small Horse Breeds?

There is nothing cuter than having a small version of something you already love. 

That is why small horses and ponies are very exciting and captivating. 

Just like their larger counterparts, there are many types of small horse breeds. 

Horses are normally classified according to their body and height. 

Height is measured from the ground up to the horse’s wither (Junction between the neck and the saddle dip). 

Small horses are strong, hardy, and can work a lot for their size. They are:

  • Falabella
  • Shetland Pony
  • Miniature Horse
  • Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse
  • Yonaguni Horse
  • Noma Pony
  • Guoxia
  • Icelandic Horse
  • Haflinger
  • Fjord Horse
small horse breeds
small horse breeds

Top 10 Small Horse Breeds That You Can Keep as Pets

For a horse breed to be considered small, it should stand between 20 to 57 inches or 5 to 15 hands in horse measurements. 

That means from the ground to the wither. 

The good thing about small horses is that they come in different sizes and colors. 

And there is always a horse for everyone. 

Small horses may not be comfortable to ride for older people, but they can be used as companions and pets. 

Small horses come in different colors and heights depending on their origin, breed characteristics, and geographical location.

Small Horse BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Falabella25 to 34 InchesSilky hair and Fine skin$1500 – $ 12,000
Shetland Pony40 InchesWidely spaced eyes and small alert ears$500 – $1500
Miniature Horse38 InchesShrunken full-size horse$2000-$50000
Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse44 to 58 InchesMuscular body, arched neck, survive chest$1000-$10000
Yonaguni Horse47 InchesIncredible physique$2000+
Noma Pony40 InchesTightened joints, cylindrical body, and oblique buttocks$10000
Guoxia40 InchesQuiet, tough and have good temperaments$1000+
Icelandic Horse52 to 56 InchesChestnut, flaxen mane, and tail$2000-$5000
Haflinger56 to 57 InchesWhite flaxen mane, and tail$2000-$10000
Fjord Horse52 to 60 InchesStrongly built, sturdy legs and arched neck$10000-$20000
small horse breed size and appearance chart

1. Falabella

falabella horse breed

Falabella is one of the smallest horse breeds that can be bred naturally, and they are the best for driving children. 

They are docile, very gentle, hardy and they can sustain more than normal horses. 

The Falabella horse first originated in Argentina and it was registered by a gentleman known as Julio Falabella in 1940. 

Falabella can grow up to a height of 25 to 34 inches or 6.25 to 8.5 hands. 

This horse was developed through crossbreeding with the Welsh pony and the Shetland pony. 

Most of them have a lifespan of between 40 to 45 years. 

The cost of a Falabella horse ranges between 1,500 USD to 12,000 USD depending on the color, conformation, and size.

2. Shetland Pony

Shetland Pony small horse

The Shetland horse is known to be very strong and hardy and that is because of the harsh conditions of the Shetland Islands. 

A Shetland horse has widely spaced eyes, short legs, ears that stick out, and a small compact head. 

Most of them have overweight bodies and thick muscular necks. 

Although it is not known when the first Shetland horse breed appeared, it was discovered that this small horse breed was domesticated in the early days. 

The Shetland horse is believed to have originated from the Shetland Islands of Scotland. 

They can grow up to a height of 40 inches or 10 hands and they have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. 

The average price of a Shetland pony is between 500 USD to 1,500 USD. Shetland ponies can be notoriously stubborn and can ignore orders from young riders. 

3. Miniature Horse

a miniature horse

Miniature horses are fun and easy to handle because of their small size. 

They are perfect for children who are learning how to ride, and they are not recommended for bigger children. 

The Miniature horse originates from Europe and the first one was bred in the 1600s. 

They can be used for pulling carts, racing, driving, jumping, and showing. 

Miniature horses have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years and they can grow up to 38 inches or 9.5 hands. 

They make for a great companion and pet animals. 

Miniature horses are also very difficult to breed because of their small jaw size which can cause dental issues if not taken care of. 

Most of them have a small and muscular build and they can weigh between 150 to 350 pounds. 

Their prices vary and a high-end show miniature horse can sell between 2000USD to 50,000 USD.

4. Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse

The Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse is good for beginners, bigger children, and young riders. 

This breed of horse is very intelligent, gentle, quiet, and calm. 

They were originally found in Kentucky; the USA and they can live up to 25 to 30 years if taken care of well. 

Most of them can grow between 44 to 58 inches or 11 to 14.5 hands. 

Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse is the second category of Kentucky Mountain saddle because they are shorter than the class As. 

They are the best for riding and working because they can withstand long and difficult terrains. 

Class B Kentucky Mountain Horse has a solid color, and they have white markings on their face, belly, and legs. 

On average, buying one of these bundles of joy will cost you between 1000 USD to 10,000 USD.

 5. Yonaguni Horse

The Yonaguni Horse is intelligent, hardy, and extremely friendly even though they live in a semi-wild environment. 

They are one of the most endangered horses globally, and there are currently less than 200 of them survive. 

The Yonaguni Horse originates from Japan and their lifespan is not known. 

They are known to love being in the company of people and that is because of their wonderful personality. 

These horses can grow up to a height of 47 inches or 11.75 hands. 

Yonaguni horses are mostly used for farming because they have strong legs and hooves that can carry heavy loads.

6. Noma Pony

noma small horse

Noma Pony is one of the most endangered horse breeds in the world. 

They are very rare, and they originated from Shikoku Island in Japan. 

It has a cylindrical body, thin legs, tightened joints, and durable hooves. 

An average Noma Pony can grow up to 40 inches tall or 20 hands. 

Most of them have a lifespan of 20 Plus years. 

According to historians, the Noma Pony was used in the second world war to carry heavy loads. 

This breed of horse can be used as saddle horses for children who are learning to ride. 

You can get one of these breeds from prices ranging from 1000USD onwards.

7. Guoxia

The Guoxia horse breed first originated from the Southern regions of China and it is believed that they were discovered more than 200 years ago. 

They can be found in multiple colors including grey, roan, and bay. 

Guoxia horse is popular and famous because of its small head, short neck, straight back, and small ears. 

This breed is a purebred pony, unlike its other Chinese horse breeds. 

Guoxia horses are perfect for children who want to learn to ride a horse one day.  

Their correct lifespan is not yet known but if you take good care of them, they can live longer. 

Guoxia horses have a height of 40 inches or 10 hands. Their prices range between 1000 USD and above.

8. Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic Horse is known to be compact, strong, and robust. 

They are mostly used for managing and controlling sheep and flocks. 

There are different types of Icelandic Horses and it all depends on the breeds and characteristics. 

Some breeds are kept because of their beautiful coat colors while others are used to work. 

Icelandic Horses are known to originate from Iceland and if taken care of properly, they can live between 25 to 30 years. 

Most of them have a height of between 52 to 56 inches or 13 to 14 hands. 

You can buy an Icelandic Horse at prices ranging from 2000USD to 5000USD.

9. Haflinger

The Haflinger horse has small ears, dished head, strong arched necks, and well-sprung bodies. 

Their legs are strong and well tapered with hard hooves. 

 Haflinger horse breeds originated from Northern Italy and Austria. 

They have a lifespan of up to 40 years and they can grow to a height of 56 to 57 inches. 

The Haflinger horse is low maintenance and can survive on scarce amounts of food.

It also has a strong heart and lungs that can survive in the mountains. 

Haflinger horse is famous because of its friendly personality and temperaments. 

They are also strong and big enough for most family members to ride. 

It costs between 2000USD to 10,000USD.

10. Fjord Horse

The Fjord Horse is believed to have originated from the Norway mountain regions where they were used for agricultural purposes. 

This horse has earned its reputation as a durable, strong, and pleasant-natured pony that loves people’s company. 

A Fjord Horse has a strong, compact, and muscular body that differs from other breeds. 

Their dun coat and unique markings make it a very rare breed. 

Fjord Horses can live up to 30 years and they can grow between 52.8 to 60 inches. 

This breed of horses is today used to pull tourist coaches because of their smooth natural gait. 

You can buy one of these breeds of horses from between 10,000 USD to 20,000USD depending on your location and age of the horse.

Are All Small Horse Breeds Friendly with Kids?

Not all horse breeds conform well with kids and it all depends on the characteristics of the horse. 

If you want to get your kid a small horse, you need to consider the breed. 

There are many small horse breeds for children such as Shetland pony, quarter horses, Noma’s pony, Falabella, and Welsh. 

When buying a horse for your kid, you need to choose one that does not easily spook, select a seasoned horse and when riding, you need to have the correct gear.

Can You Keep Small Horse Breeds as Pets?

Yes. Small horse breeds such as Miniature horse, Falabella, and Caspian breeds are good for kids and can also be great companions as pets. 

They are mostly robust and can be used to carry kids of ages between 10 to 12. 

Small horses are the best pets if taken care of properly and they are also very attractive because of their beautiful mane.

Wrapping Up

As we have seen, small horse breeds are popular throughout the world and can be kept as pets for kids, companion animals, and great for young riders. 

If you are a horse lover, knowing small horse breeds can help you think again. 

Although there are a few endangered small horses, most of them have been bred or even rescued to maintain their lineage. 

So next time when you want to buy a small breed of horse, you can select one from the list provided above. Moreover, to ensure that you get the best experience with your new pet, read our health guide for tips on how to keep a healthy horse.

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