May 28, 2002 - Tale of the Tiny Horses

It's enough to make a Clydesdale wonder if he's on another planet, a horse less than three feet tall.

Miniature horses are a contradiction. The smaller they get the bigger they are, in the affections of those who love them. Christy D'Armond picks up a tiny foal no bigger than a house dog. It's one of 60 miniature horses that she has at her place in Central. "He just loves to be held," she says. "He's almost three weeks old, and he just loves to be fooled with. He'll just go right back to sleep. You can just sit on the swing with him and swing, and he'll go right back to sleep."

Miniature horses got their start in ancient Europe when they were bred as gifts for royalty. Then in the 1700's their small size made them perfect to work in the coal mines. But the breed almost vanished. Christy says, "when the steam engine came along and they started using steam to power the coal carts, the minis lost their use and kind of died out. Then at the early part of the 20th century they regained popularity just as a novelty. Their purpose now is just to make people happy."

So if you're in Central and spot a bunch of horses that look like you could hold them in your lap, you could. And if you're very lucky and drive by at just the right time, out amongst them you will see one very happy lady. Christy's pride and joy is a horse which she just recently bought. He has won 171 halter titles, making him the winningest horse in the history of the American Miniature Horse Association.