Equine Dwarfism
 By Dawnfalls   •   17th Jun 2010   •   7,555 views   •   7 comments
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Miniature Horses, or minis. And maybe even some of you have heard of Thumbelina, the smallest horse in the world. If you have ever really looked at a picture of Thumbelina, or video, you may have noticed something about her was a little off. It must be her conformation, you might think. If you thought of that, you were correct. Thumbelina suffers from a genetic trait called Dwarfism.

Equine Dwarfism is extremely rare in average size horses, but much more common in minis. There is research starting about this new subject, but many believe it is a recessive gene. This means that, in the equine dwarf’s case, there is one skipped generation. The percentage of miniature dwarves born every year is growing, though it is unknown due to the denials and hidden cases of dwarfism.

Dwarfism is a huge problem for the minis because of what it does to them. It not only makes them small, but in many cases, severely deformed. There are over 200 variations of dwarfism characteristics. One of the most common types, as seen in Thumbelina, is Achondroplasia. This means shortened extremities, and indeed leaves the horse with short limbs (often crooked as well), small ears planted on a normal sized head, neck and torso. This extends to the belly and often ends up with small hindquarters. These deformities affect the lifespan of the dwarf majorly, and can lead to many different types of trouble in the joints due to the unnatural formation.

Dwarfism can’t be treated, and many of the horses have to live with foot pads, and braces to support the weight for their whole lives. Some hate standing up so much they lay down just to eat. Because of their lack of exercise, because they usually can’t [exercise], they also tend to become fat which leads to obesity, and then more internal problems.

Not only this, but dwarfism is hard to stop. The gene has not yet been identified, and since it is recessive, dwarf heritage can be easily denied in a horse. Not only this, but in the creation of smaller breeds, dwarfs were actually used to shorten the offspring, which leaves the genepools with unexpected dwarfism. Because of all the terrible outcomes in dwarfism, it must be stopped. The ways you could help stop dwarfism is by gelding any stallion who is known to be related to a dwarf, or has produced a dwarf. Do not breed mares if they have the dwarf gene as well. Currently, the only to stop it, is to cut the lines short.
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Magik Rose Farm  
This is an excellent article, however, the term recessive does not have anything to do with "skipping generations." It can be a "hidden" trait, meaning that you have to have two copies of the trait for it to be expressed. If you have a copy of the dominant trait AND a copy of the recessive trait, you will show the dominant trait physically, but genetically you will pass on both to your offspring.
  Jun 17, 2010  •  5,275 views
poor thumbelina :(
  Jun 18, 2010  •  5,246 views
Starlight Farm  
Actually there is a new contender for the world's smallest horse born this year, but they have to wait to see how large he grows to make it official. )
  Jun 18, 2010  •  5,234 views
this is an excellent article equine dwarfism must be stopped!
  Jun 18, 2010  •  5,215 views
Thanks for your support everyone! Magik, I see what you mean. It was the wrong word I guess, hidden trait i what I meant!
  Jun 18, 2010  •  5,254 views
great article, but if you were to take out every mini that had a dwarf in its blood, there wouldnt be any minis left to continue on the breed. alot of minis have the foundation herd "Komoko" in their blood and the "Komoko" blood has at least 1 dwarf that i know of and he was bred to quite a few mares.
  48 days ago  •  5,247 views
Valkyrie   MOD 

There are thousands of miniature horses all around the world who are free from dwarfism due to responsible breeders and registries weeding out dwarf blood. Dwarf miniatures in Australia and New Zealand are virtually non-existent. I've never seen or heard of one. My two miniatures are perfectly conformed and very happy.
  Sep 29, 2014  •  3,805 views
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