The Falabella is very unique and one of the smallest horse breeds in the world, originating from Argentina. During the 15th century, Spanish conquerors and explorers settled in South America, bringing their horses with them. So, many horses in America are descended from the Spanish Andalusian and other Iberian bloodlines.
The name of the breed comes from the family that was breeding and developing the breed. In the 19th century, Patrick Newtall started a breeding program in Argentina, crossbreeding local Criollo horses, which were adapted to the harsh environments by reducing body mass over generations. After his death, his son-in-law, Juan Falabella, took over the breeding methods and the herd that his father-in-law possessed.
Falabella imported foreign breeds, such as the Welsh Pony, Shetland pony, and small Thoroughbreds, and added their bloodlines to the existing herd. The aim was to gain constantly small size within the herd. In 1940 Juan created a formal breed registry, called the Establecimientos Falabella, standardizing the breed to reach a constant height of fewer than 10 hands high 40 inches. Modern standards of the Falabella Horse Breeders Association Asociacion de Criadores de Caballos Falabella achieved an average size of approximately only 7.2 hands 30 inches high.
The first importation of Falabella horses to the United States was in 1962 for the needs of Regina Winery in Etiwanda, California. John Aleno from Argentina purchased 12 stallions from Julio Falabella and sold them to the winery, which used them for the promotion of their wine, driving a small stagecoach in parades.
These horses are precursors of the most miniature horses in the USA. Today there are only a few thousand Flabellas existing throughout the world. The average height of the breed is from 6.1-7 hands 25- 28 inches in height at the withers and they can rarely be found taller than 8 hands.
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