Helping Miniature Horses and Dwarfs with Limb Deformities

An aggressive trim, disc and plate system, aid in management

A new client calls and asks you to come out and look at a “pony” on the farm that has some problems. The day of the appointment comes and when you get to the farm, you find the animal in front of you is a miniature horse — and a dwarf, at that

A miniature horse, like the name suggests, looks identical to a traditional horse but is smaller in stature. American Miniature Horse Association Registered horses stand at or below 34 inches, or 7-8 hands. Dwarfs are miniature horses with a genetic mutation — or combination of genetic mutations — that, depending on the severity, can result in a variety of deformities and related health issues that need to be addressed.

When working with dwarfs, farriers are faced with a unique set of challenges; but they also have a toolbox full of possible solutions that would not work for a traditional horse. One of the lessons I learned early on working with these animals is just how much can be done to help. With proper hoof care and horsemanship, many miniature horses and dwarfs can be quite successful.

Farrier Takeaways 

  • One of four genetic mutations can cause dwarfism in miniature horses.
  • Because they are so small, physics allows for corrections in miniature horses that wouldn’t be realistic in a larger horse.
  • Not trimming aggressively enough is one of the most common mistakes farriers make when working with miniature horses.

I ask myself two questions: “What can be done to…

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Kristen Kubisiak

Kristen Kubisiak has been a writer and photographer with newspapers and magazines for 15 years. A native of Wisconsin, she served as the Managing Editor of American Farriers Journal.
Curtis burns

Curtis Burns

Curtis Burns has shod some of the highest Thoroughbred money winners in the United States, including Mucho Macho Man and Justify. He owns Polyflex Horseshoes in Wellington, Fla

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