7 Smallest Horse & Pony Breeds

While horses are typically known for their large size, there is a pint-size group of the smallest horse & pony breeds.

For this post, we’ve focused on the most common small horse breeds you’re most likely to see when visiting a country farm. However, we’ve also included below a list of the rarest small horse and pony breeds from around the world.

Small Horse & Pony Breeds:

smallest horse Falabella


Place of Origin: Argentina
Height: 28 and 34 inches
Coat Color: Black, bay, palomino, pinto
Bred For: Showing and pets

The Falabella is gentle and docile around people but retains plenty of ‘fizz’ around it’s herd-mates, indulging in ‘horse-play’. They are long-lived and hardy, coping very well with cold weather although most of them would appreciate some protection from prolonged spells of rain.


American Miniature Horse

Place of Origin: America
Height: 34–38 inches
Coat Color: Any coat color or pattern
Bred For: Pets, Driving and Showing

No bigger than a large dog, American Miniature Horses are “miniature” versions of well-balanced horses, possessing conformation characteristics found in most equine breeds. Though petite, Miniature Horses are extremely versatile and excel in a variety of disciplines including driving, halter, jumping, obstacle and others.

American Miniature Horse Association
smallest Shetland Pony

Shetland Pony

Place of Origin: Scotland
Height: Up to 42 inches
Coat Color: Any color (except spotted)
Bred For: Driving and Riding for small children

The two types established within the breed from the ponies origins and which retain distinct characteristics today make it highly suitable for either function, the heavier boned draught animal with powerful chest and shoulders for driving and the lighter free moving pony with high tail carriage and pretty head for riding.

Shetland Pony Studbook Society

Caspian Horse

Place of Origin: Iran
Height: 9 – 11.2 hands
Coat Color:  black, bay, grey, dun and chestnut
Bred For: Harness work and children’s mounts

The Caspian is a forerunner to the hot-blooded horses of today, concluded by genetic testing and bone structure, exhibiting the fine build of the Thoroughbred and the beauty and endurance of the Arabian.

small Welsh Pony

Welsh Pony

Place of Origin: Wales
Height: 13.2 hands + (see below)
Coat Color: Any solid color
Bred For: Riding and Driving

Welsh Ponies are divided into four types:
Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A) – not exceeding 12 hands
Welsh Pony (Section B) – not exceeding 13.2 hands
Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C) – containing Cob blood, not exceeding 13.3 hands
Welsh Cob (Section D) – taller than 13.2 hands, no upper limit
The latter two types are capable of carrying small adults.

Horse Canada
small Icelandic Horse

Icelandic Horse

Place of Origin: Iceland
Height: 13-14 hands
Coat Color: Chestnut, dun, bay, black, gray, palomino, pinto and roan
Bred For: Riding and Driving

The Icelandic horse is capable of all the usual gaits of any other horse – the walk, trot, and canter. However, they possess two unique gaits, the tölt and the skeið, that are thought to have developed in response to a gene mutation.

small Norwegian Fjord Horse

Norwegian Fjord Horse

Place of Origin: Norway
Height: 13.1 to 14.2 hands
Coat Color: Dun (with five variations in shade)
Bred For: Farming, Driving and Riding

The Norwegian Fjord Horse is one of the world’s oldest and purest breeds. It is believed that the original Fjord Horse migrated to Norway and was domesticated over 4,000 years ago. Herds of wild Fjord Horses existed in Norway after the last ice age.

Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry

But who is the world’s smallest horse? Be sure to check out Einstein Horse to get the answer!

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  All About the American Paint Horse: Breed Profile, History, Characteristics, & Facts

Rarest Small Horse Breeds

  • Noma (12 hands)
  • Galiceño (12 – 13.2 hands)
  • Exmoor Pony (11.1 – 12.3 hands)
  • Eriskay Pony (12 – 13.2 hands)
  • Bankers Horse (13 -14.3 hands)
  • Camargue Horse (13 – 14.3 hands)
  • Guoxia (10 hands)
  • Yonaguni (11.2 hands)
  • Gotland (11.2 – 13 hands)
  • Choctaw Horse (13.2 – 14.2 hands)
  • Virginia Highlander (13 – 14 hands)
  • Colonial Spanish Horse (13.2 – 14 hands)
  • Dales Pony (14 – 14.2 hands)
  • Fell Pony (13 – 14 hands)
  • Ojibwe Pony (12.2 to 14.2 hands)
  • M’Par (12.3 – 13.3 hands)
  • Lokai (14 – 14.2 hands)
  • Highland Pony (13 to 14.2 hands)
  • Heck (12.2 – 13.2 hands)
  • Faroe Pony (11.1 – 12.1 hands)
  • Giara (11.1 – 13.1 hands)
  • Newfoundland Pony (11-14.2 hands)
  • Baise (11 – 11.2 hands)
  • Campeiro (14.1 hands)
  • Nokota Horse (14 – 14.3 hands)
  • Przewalski’s Horse (12–14 hands)
  • Sable Island Horse (13 – 14 hands)
  • Sorraia (14.1 – 14.3 hands)

Many of these small horse breeds are nearing extinction. To learn more about endangered horses, check out Rare Horse Breeds.

What’s your favourite of the smallest horse and pony breeds?

small horse and pony

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