|Country of origin||Argentina|
The ancestral stock of the horse of South America descended from horses brought to the western hemisphere by the Spanish of Andalusian and other Iberian bloodlines. In the southern part of the continent, significant numbers of these horses developed within geographically isolated conditions and by the mid-19th century, there were any number of smaller, inbred animals in the herds of Mapuche of southern Buenos Aires province in Olavarría, Argentina. The Falabella horse was originally developed in Argentina from local horses of Criollo stock, beginning in 1868 with the breeding program of Patrick Newtall. When Newtall died, the herd and breeding methods were passed to Newtall's son-in-law, Juan Falabella. Juan added additional bloodlines, including the Welsh Pony, Shetland pony, and small Thoroughbreds. With considerable inbreeding, he was able to gain consistently small size within the herd.
Beginning in the 1940s, a descendant, Julio C. Falabella, created a formal breed registry, the Establecimientos Falabella, now the Asociación de Criadores de Caballos Falabella (Falabella Horse Breeders Association), and worked to standardize the breed to reach a consistent height, first achieving an average size of under 100 cm (40 in) Later breeders developed the modern standard, a horse breed that averaged approximately 76 cm (30 in) in height.
Average breed heights for a fully-grown Falabella today are between 71 and 86 cm (28 and 34 in). The breed is proportioned similarly to horses, other than in size. They are similar to Thoroughbreds or Arabs in their conformation, with a sleek coat and a slim frame. The Falabella’s body is small and compact. The breed also inherited some cob-like features from pony bloodlines, including sturdy bone, and a thicker hair coat, particularly the mane, tail and around the fetlocks. The head may be slightly larger and the neck is often stouter by comparison with a normal-sized horse, but overall, the animal is not unusually or abnormally proportioned.
Bay (or a variant of bay, called "brown") and black are the most common colors, but there are also pintos, palominos and other spotting patterns found. Black or red leopard-spotted Falabellas (resembling, but not the same as the Appaloosa horse breed) also exist, but are not common.
Falabella foals are very small, standing around 30 to 56 cm (12 to 22 in) tall at birth, and maturing to their adult height by the age of three. They generally stand between 76 and 86 cm (30 and 34 in) tall when fully mature. They are considered very hardy and consistently pass on size, conformation and temperament.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Falabella.|
- Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
- Breed data sheet: Falabella Pony / Argentina (Horse). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed December 2020.
- Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
- "Falabella miniature horse." from International Museum of the horse
- Falabella Miniature Horse Association
- Lynghaug, Fran. The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide. p. 481.
- Élise Rousseau, Yann Le Bris, Teresa Lavender Fagan (2017). Horses of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691167206.
- Richard I. Robinson (July 1965). Falabella Miniature Horses. Western Horseman, July 1965.