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The 7 Smallest Horses in the World
Miniature horses, dwarf miniatures, and Shetland ponies: these are the world's smallest horses. Meet seven of them right here.
Famous Little Horses
Have you met the smallest horses in the world? Miniature horses, dwarf miniatures, and Shetland ponies: these breeds represent the world's tiniest horses. They are also some of the most famous horses in the world.
Maybe you have seen their names in newspaper headlines or on the Internet. Many of them have guest starred on popular television shows like Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and the Rachael Ray Show.
Now you can get better acquainted with them. Meet Black Beauty, Thumbelina, Einstein, Cuddles, Panda, Twinkie and Lucy -- the seven smallest horses in the world. They are the tiniest, most adorable, and extraordinary horses you will ever meet.
1. Black Beauty
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. This is not a photoshopped digital image with special effects. Black Beauty is a the real thing -- an eating, breathing, and trotting miniature pony.
Guinness World Records certified Black Beauty as the world’s smallest horse in 2001. The dwarf miniature belongs to Donald and Janet Burleson of Burleson Arabians and the Guide Horse Foundation in Kittrell, North Carolina.
Born June 6, 1996, Black Beauty weighed less than ten pounds and measured barely twelve inches in length. Five years later, standing 18.5 inches tall, she earned the title of "smallest horse in the world." The tiny mare held the title until 2007, when a dwarf miniature named Thumbelina claimed the honor.
In 2007, a little brown mare named Thumbelina became the "smallest horse in the world." She claimed the Guinness World Records title with a 17-inch height.
Thumbelina was born May 1, 2001. She belongs to Paul and Kay Goessling of Goose Creek Farm in Ladue, Missouri. Michael Goessling, the couple's son, is her handler.
Thumbelina is a gentle horse that enjoys being loved and petted. The dwarf miniature inspired two worthy organizations: the Thumbelina Charitable Foundation and the Thumbelina Children’s Tour.
The little horse has her very own picture book: Thumbelina: The World's Smallest Horse. Written by Heather C. Hudak, the book was released in 2009 by Weigl Publishers.
Who holds the world record as the smallest stallion? That would be Einstein, an adorable black-and-white miniature pinto.
Unlike Black Beauty and Thumbelina, Einstein shows no signs of dwarfism. His owners, Charlie Cantrell and Dr. Rachel Wagner, say little Einstein is just a tiny horse.
At 20 inches tall, Einstein is thought to be the smallest stallion in the world. He is likely to enter the Guinness record book as the smallest horse ever born. Just six pounds at birth, he weighed three pounds less than newborn Thumbelina.
Einstein was born April 22, 2010, in Barnstead, New Hampshire. His owners celebrated his first birthday with a book: A Friend For Einstein: The Smallest Stallion. Hyperion published the book in 2011.
Cuddles holds several unique distinctions. For starters, the two-foot-tall pygmy pony is the first guide horse recognized by the United States government.
Cuddles belongs to Dan Shaw, a Maine resident who lost his vision to a degenerative eye disease. Trained by Donald and Janet Burleson, Cuddles is as smart as any guide dog. The Burlesons trained the tiny horse for three years before Shaw brought her home.
Cuddles has achieved many world records in a short amount of time. For example, she was the first guide horse to travel by airplane, subway, and ferry. She was the first to visit the Statue of Liberty. And she was also the first to visit the cinema. Her movie? Shrek, A Knight's Tale.
Cuddle's trainer, Jan Burleson, wrote a book about the little horse. Rampant Techpress publishes Cuddles, The Guide Horse in 2006.
She is intelligent, alert, protective, and house-trained. Her owner says she loves to play fetch, take naps on the carpet, and play with her toys.
Her name is Panda, and she is a black-and-white miniature guide horse that stands about 29 inches tall. She is named for the color of her coat.
Panda belongs to Ann Edie, a blind special education teacher in upstate New York. "I've had three guide dogs, but none have been anywhere near as good as Panda," Edie said.
Like Cuddles, Panda was trained at the Guide Horse Foundation in Kittrell, North Carolina. Panda's trainer, Alexandra Kurland, used a click training method with the horse.
Panda has a book, too: Panda: A Guide Horse for Ann. The book was written by Rosanna Hansen, illustrated by Neil Soderstrom and published by Boyd Mills Press in 2005.
Twinkie, a two-foot-tall dwarf miniature, is the personal pet of Donald and Janet Burleson. The little horse inspired the Guide Horse program and helped with early training techniques.
Due to a genetic dwarfism condition, Twinkie has a normal-size torso and short legs. Although she was trained to assist the blind, the chestnut mare does not possess the agility required of a service animal.
Despite her physical disabilities, Twinkie is healthy and lives a normal, happy life with her owners in Kittrell, North Carolina. Now retired, she serves as the mascot for the Guide Horse Foundation.
Lucy, a true miniature mare, is Great Britain's smallest horse. The tiny Shetland pony weighs 100 pounds and stands 19.5 inches tall.
Like other Shetland ponies, Lucy stopped growing at two years old. Her owner, Sandra Power, was shocked to find her so small. "I've never seen anything like her before," the veterinarian said.
Lucy's body is well-proportioned and she shows no signs of dwarfism. Her mane and tail grow quickly, so they require frequent trimming.
Lucy has her own custom-made stable that looks like a child's playhouse. She lives with thirteen other miniature horses, and she is dwarfed by all of them. The little pony loves to gallop around the paddock with the larger horses, Power said.
Do you have a favorite miniature horse? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.
- Burleson, Donald and Janet Burleson. (2005) "Miniature Horses for the Blind." The Guide Horse Foundation. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Daily Mail contributor. "My REALLY Little Pony: Einstein, the World's Smallest Stallion, Gets Set for First Birthday." Daily Mail Online. March 26, 2011.
- Environmental Graffiti contributor. (2008) "Thumbelina and Lucy: The World's Smallest Horses." Environmental Graffiti. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Seattle Times contributor. (January 29, 2007) "Miniature Horse a Big Help to Woman Needing a Guide." The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Shaw, Dan. (n.d.) "Cuddle's World Records." Dan and Cuddles: World's First Guide Horse. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- The Telegraph contributor. (November 18, 2008) "Britain's Smallest Horse." London, England: The Telegraph. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
- Thumbelina website. (2006) "Meet Thumbelina." Thumbelina: The World's Smallest Horse. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
© 2011 Annette R. Smith