THE FALABELLA PONY
When the Spanish conquistadores came to Latin America, they brought some Andalusian horses with them. Those Andalusian horses that escaped or were abandoned were forced to survive unfavorable conditions like scarce water and pasture, cold southwestern winds, fierce storms, animal predators, and human persecution. As a result of so many harsh conditions and a small genetic pool which resulted in inbreeding ( breeding among closely-related individuals, such as brothers and sisters), the descendants of the original Andalusians, when spotted in the 1850s in the herds of the Mapuche Indians of Argentina, were the size of our modern-day miniature horses. The Falabella family of Argentina became so entranced with these pretty little creatures after many years of selective breeding that they became known as the developers of the breed. Today's Falabella Pony is the smallest and rarest horse in the world.
These little horses often live to 40-45 years. They are gentle and docile, love the attention of human fans, and are good natural jumpers. At only 7- 8.5 hands in height, however, they are not strong enough to be ridden except by tiny children. Their heads are small and refined, unlike the Shetland Pony, whose head is large in comparison to the rest of its body. The Falabella has fine, silky hair and thin skin and has only 17 vertebrae in its back. There are lots of variations in color, ranging from bay, chestnut, black, and brown to many variations of pinto and even leopard spots.