What "Size" is my Mini? What size cart? What size bit? What size Harness?
If you are looking for the article about measuring the foal and predicting mature height, click here.
Sooo, you have your new Miniature Horse at home and you start hearing or reading about 'A' minis vs. 'B' minis?? What does all of this mean?
Minis are measured in "A" or "B" size. A is up to 34 inches, B is over 34 up to 38 inches. The Registries are in the process of defining how to measure a Miniatures Up until 2008, they were always measured at the last hairs of the mane. They are now discussing changing their standards to measuring them like ponies and large horses at the base of the withers (more at the flat of the back).
The Registries use terms too and that can confuse the matter more. The AMHA only allows 'A' sized minis into their registry, whereas, the AMHR has an 'A' category and a 'B' category.
Measuring for a bit is the easiest question to answer. I take a clean dowel and a marker down to our minis. Measure and mark from one side of the mouth to the other and you have your bit size. Many of the bits that "come with the harness" pinch the horse's mouth. Make sure you buy a "no pinch" bit.
The cart is trickier, but the shaft size is your critical component. The majority of minis require 48" shafts. The shafts should float with proper balance. To tell if your cart has proper balance, sit in the cart and have someone lift the shafts. They should be able to lift the shaft with one finger. The cart should feel lighter to the person holding the shafts when there is someone sitting in it. We also have a 4 wheeled cart and there is some weight on the shafts. (some 4 wheeled carts have a chain or spring supporting the shafts). The shafts should be level with the horse's shoulder for the best and more balanced ride. Tied down, the shafts will transfer every bump of the wheels directly to the horse. If you would like to measure where your shafts should be, do the following: Saddle the horse and adjust your stirrups to where they should be. Then measure from the bottom of the stirrup to the ground. Now, go to your cart and hold it so that the shafts are level or just slightly elevated. Measure from the shaft (where the stirrup would loop around it) to the ground. If these 2 measurements correlate, your cart will fit your horse. You can adjust the wheels to help adjust the cart to the mini. I am not an expert or even a very experienced amateur, but finding someone in your area will take you a long way!
Your harness is your key to safety. I do NOT recommend buying a harness off of ebay unless they state a brand name and it is a recognized one. This is a good site for measuring your horse for its harness. http://www.nikkisponyexpress.net/measurementsA.html
For information on calculating the weight of your mini, click here.
Barb Lee's book Understanding Harness and Balanced Draft. It is written so a beginner can understand it. Click here for more books about driving.