It’s morning on the farm, and some of the smallest family members are waking up to eat their breakfast in their stalls. Four to a stall, our dwarf horses are so small they have plenty of space to stretch. After they’re groomed and gorgeous, we open the gate, and they wander down to their own corral, where they’ll eat lunch, a delicious meal of watered-down hay. As they make their way back to the stall, one particularly sassy filly, Chiquita, likes to tease the stallion, who has to be kept separate from the mares. She flirts, throwing her rear toward him, as they trot back to their stalls. Drives him nuts.
I’ve loved horses ever since I could remember, riding hunters and jumpers as a child, and having my own when I was 12. Growing up in Los Angeles, I boarded my first horses at Will Rogers State Park. I never intended to own dwarf horses – it’s common for them to have quite a few health problems, and they’re like infants, requiring constant attention, and often special medicine. I started with miniature horses, tiny animals at 29 inches, though compared to the dwarf horses, who are often half that, they seem full-sized!
Showing the miniatures in shows, one trainer gave me a dwarf who needed a great deal of care. I hadn’t yet bought the farm, so I had created a mini-version of a city farm, caring for them in Beverly Hills! It’s not just Rodeo Drive and shiny cars.
Dwarf horses pull at those same heart-strings that all that teeny-tiny animals do (kittens!), but while you might be tempted to breed them, their health issues pull at other, harder heart-strings. We had to do a stem-cell transplant for one, who lived a healthier life, but still died from her heart issues. We’ve had to straighten the legs of one little girl – at 14 inches, she was so small we used tongue depressors as splints. We take good care of them, rescuing others when needed.
Our dwarves and minis are part of The City Farm family, sharing the good life along with our small Zebu cows, ducks and Kunekune pigs, (pronounced “cooney cooney”), who are my pets. Buying the farm in 2009, I’ve learned so much to grow it to where it is today, and I’m so happy to share it with you all. I’d love to connect: share your farm memories with us here in the comments, or via Twitter or Facebook!