new member with questions

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Well-Known Member
Jul 10, 2005
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Good evening all! I've been checking out this site and I just had to join! My husband and I are contemplating changing our operation from Quarter Horses to Miniatures and I have a couple of questions.

How prevalent is dwarfism in the breeding of miniatures?

What are locked stifles and how common are they? Are they preventable?

In Quarter Horses, we worry about HYPP, GBED, and HERDA....

Thank you all and I hope everyone is doing okay in the path of Dennis.
Hi Range,

Welcome to the board. I'm probably not the best person to answer your questions, but since no one else has posted a reply, I thought I'd give it my best shot. I would have to guess that dwarves in minis is more common than dwarfism in AQHA. However, careful breeding practices, knowledge of bloodlines and pedigrees, and avoiding breeding stock with dwarfy characteristics are helpful in reducing the chance of getting a dwarf. Knock on wood, I am one away from completing my 10th foaling year and have yet to have a dwarf born here. I'm sure part is due to luck, but I think part is due to watching in-breeding/cross breeding and not using animals with dwarf characteristics. As for locked patella, I had a gelding who suffered from it for about a year following an injury when he attempted to jump out of a 3" high pipe gate stall at a horse show. He gimped around on it for what seemed like a career ending forever, but eventually it went away completely and he went on to be a National Champion in performance classes. I have another mare who has problems with this if I keep her stalled up. I don't know if she had an injury before I got her, but she has it in both back legs. I've not had the problem with any of my other horses. I don't think it is that prevalent and I do think there is a simple surgery to correct this if you do get a horse that has it. Probably one of the bigger things that people don't seem to discuss as much in minis is a retained testicle. I think this is a bigger problem than many breeders want to admit to and with the way AMHA rules are written, a World Champion junior stallion can go on to be a BIG NAME stallion but could never be shown as a senior stallion due to only having one testicle.

Hope this helps.
Welcome to the Forum. I personally find that dwarfism happens to the best of us. In my experience, anyone who has been breeding minis for any length of time has had one. There are others here, that I'm sure will disagree, so I'll add, that everyone I know, who has been breeding any length of time. Including myself. I have a stallion who's grandsire is a known dwarf (Bond Tiny Tim) and I have to make super sure of the pedigree of any mare I breed him to. So far, I've never had a dwarf by him.

Locked stifles are common in authletic horses, for the most part. I've only seen one or two in minis, quite a few in TB's and Arabs. But I'm sure someone else on here has had more experience with them in minis and can help you with that better than I.

I can't help you at all with HYPP and the other stuff. Never did like pintos (nothing personal) and the only reason I even have one is because I like her. I'd probably like her alot better if she were black. LOL

Anyway, welcome and ask away. The knowledge here is unbelievable.
Im going to disagree and say that locked stifles is a huge problem in minis. Now this is just my opinion but i think its because many dont believe it is inherited so they keep breeding animals with locked stifles. Ive talked with several veternarians that also feel its inherited (a conformation fault) Now some foals will lock up temporarily when they hit a growth spurt. But I feel if they are still locking by age 2 then its probably permanent. Also sometimes the signs of locked stifle are so subtle that alot of people dont even realize their horse has it. My opinon the only way to prevent locked stifle is not to breed horses with locked stifle.

As said above the main thing when breeding is to be very careful about picking out your breeding animals and be sure they do not have dwarf characteristics. But even then you could get a dwarf from a certain pairing of a stallion and mare. You just never know when it will pop up.
Welcome and I commend you for doing your homework before jumping in with both feet. Miniatures are like a disease I warn you. They are horses but have more heart and personality than a large horse. I swear they can reason!

Stifles most of the time are inherited but can also be a growing problem that is outgrown, only your vet can tell you. Inquire in depth of any sires and dams, health, height, feet, bites etc.

Get lots of pics and learn bloodlines. Everything you'll need is here and at the AMHA & AMHR sites. We love to share pics in the contest.

Dwarfism does happen even to the best. I'm sure several of our mambers owned and loved by dwarfs will give you more info.

The hardest thing with these guys is to keep them trim. They love to eat and assure you each time you see them they are starving to death!

Have fun.
Kay I could not agree more. Stifle problems are definitely and inherited problem. Because the problems do not pass to every offspring people cry "Aha, you see it's NOT inherited" Would you do the same with a poor mouth or a retained testicle?? I think we gloss over a myriad faults such as retained or late descended testicles, patella problems et al. I have never known a patella problem, caused by an injury, not come good- of course if ligaments were torn, that would leave lasting problems, but is a different issue. I would have HYSTERICS if any of my yearlings locked up, and I have never had it happen. By the By it is one of the main reasons the Welsh people over here stopped the standing of Welsh "outside the box" They found that weak and straight stifles could be hidden as well as long backs and weak (herring) guts, so the "A"'s especially were becoming prevalent to luxating patellas. Once they stood up properly they could be judged accordingly and now, twenty years later, they are back on track.
Thank you for your help! One last question, we do have two minis, one is about 34" and no dwarfism traits. We bought a little mini stud and he has kind of a poofy this a dwarfism trait? He's only four months old and I'm thinking he might grow out of it...

Thanks again!
we have tossed this question around.. That usually goes away as they age. I will include a couple pics of mine that had this. If you look at the foal pics on will see them with flat faces and the bump and they all seem to grow out of it.

foal heads


Deuce as a 3 month old foal and Deuce as a yearling...\


These are his full brothers born with flat heads.





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