The Falabella, miniature horse, who is he?


Although nicknamed “Argentine pony”, the Falabella is indeed a horse and also has the characteristics. The most famous of small equines to the world owes its popularity to the combination of its unique morphology and its amiable character. The Falabella, a dapper breed born in the pampas.

Falabella: at the origins of the breed

In fact, the exact origins of the breed remain imprecise. The most likely hypothesis is that these miniature horses are descended from mounts imported by the conquistadores and that they developed in the South American pampas. The first specimens were discovered around 1840, running freely in the vast Argentine plains. Based near Buenos Aires, the Falabella family collected the smallest individuals and placed them in breeding. After crosses successive between the Criollo, English Thoroughbred and Shetland breeds, the smallest descendants were selected for a new reproduction. The goal was to minimize the size of the animal while retaining the specificities of the horse. In order to fix the character of dwarfism in the breed, breeders made much use of consanguinity.

The Falabella horse, from yesterday to today

In the fifties, the features of the Falabella were considered sufficiently harmonious to establish the criteria of the breed, but it was not until 1973 that the horse was registered with the Stud Book. By presenting it in various international events, the breeder Julio Cesar Falabella forges the reputation of his equine and, faced with success, undertakes his export in the whole world. Attracted by the originality of Falabella, great fortunes (Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Rockefeller…) acquired it.

Falabella: the standards of the breed

The Falabella retains the shape and shape of a small horse well proportionate. It has a thin head with wide nostrils with a straight or even slightly convex profile. Her big eyes expressive contrast with small ears set wide apart. The shoulder is well formed, the neckline long, the marked tourniquet and the croup slightly oblique. Mane and tail hair are provided. While the size recommended by the standard recommends displays 75 cm, the average varies between 70 and 80 cm and specimens of less than 70 cm are the most sought after. The average weight ranges from 70 to 80 kg in adulthood. The equine can carry all types of dresses : the most common widespread bay and black while the most popular are the dresses spotted and pie.

The health of the Falabella

Although the Falabella has lost its former vigor following its miniaturization, the little horse remains a rustic animal that resists harsh climates and deploys a strength surprising in view of its dimensions. However, it should be noted that the crosses consanguineous which has been the subject of the breed confer on certain individuals brittle. The Falabella presents several curiosities : it has 2 vertebrae and 2 ribs less than other horses. In addition, the gestation of the mare lasts 2 months longer than the other equines, that is to say 13 months instead of 11. Finally, it should be noted that by reaching 40 years of age, her longevity exceeds the usual average of horses estimated between 25 and 30 years.

Caring for the Falabella horse

The Falabella does not require different care of those necessary for classic horses. For its well-being, the animal requires a space that allows it to graze and walk in freedom. His meadow or enclosure must have the essential facilities for drinking, eating and shelter. The Argentinian horse needs work and to move regularly to keep in good physical and mental shape. It does not require any specific food, the amount of food simply has to adapt to its format. Namely that a miniature horse takes 90% of its size the first year, hence the need to ensure rigorous dietary monitoring in order to avoid deficiencies and promote its growth in optimal conditions.

The use of the Falabella horse

Showing calm and gentle, the Falabella is a reassuring horse, able to adapt calmly to all situations. If its size makes it unfit when riding, its friendly temperament makes it an excellent company. Endowed with remarkable intelligence and patience, he is the ideal ally in teaching children respect, responsibility and developing their socialization. Its docile character allows its use as an animal ofassistance with people with disabilities and in equitherapy. Very powerful and enduring, the Falabella is particularly voluntary for presentations in hand (show, dressage) and in show jumping competitions in loin. His strength allows him to shoot a lightweight hitch, adapted to its size for leisure activities.

Breeding of the Falabella breed

In the XXIe century, blood tests performed on the Falabella revealed the presence genetic other breeds such as the Appaloosa, the Pinto, the Icelandic, the Welsh or the Iberian horse. One thing is certain: the dwarfism Falabella is now fixed in its genes and as such, it is no longer necessary to practice selection on breeders. Even today, the Falabella family has the most large breeding from race to the world. The equine is bred in several countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. In France, we admire it at events such as the Paris Horse Show or the International Agricultural Show.

Photo credit: Crystal Holt