P/sunny
63°
P/sunny
Hi 64° | Lo 44°

Bank on it: Mini horses a big hit

Spending time in Turners

  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. "Blondie" is a miniature palomino horse. "They just bring so much joy, they are like little puppy dogs," said Debbie Austin, one of the owners who brought horses to show.

    Photo by Beth Reynolds
    Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. "Blondie" is a miniature palomino horse. "They just bring so much joy, they are like little puppy dogs," said Debbie Austin, one of the owners who brought horses to show.

  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Kevin Reil, 10, enjoys a hot chocolate and shares a moment with Danny, a miniature donkey. Kevin, his brother Jivason, sister Triniti and cousin Josiah all fed the miniature horses some carrots and apples. It all took place at a miniature horse expo Saturday, hosted by Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls.

    Photo by Beth Reynolds
    Kevin Reil, 10, enjoys a hot chocolate and shares a moment with Danny, a miniature donkey. Kevin, his brother Jivason, sister Triniti and cousin Josiah all fed the miniature horses some carrots and apples. It all took place at a miniature horse expo Saturday, hosted by Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls.

  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Triniti Reil, 3, and her mother Beth Reil of Erving feed "Relish" a mini Pinto horse at Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls, which hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. Behind her are her brothers Kevin and Jivason Reil, both 10 and cousin Josiah Tondryk, 3. The children fed apples and carrots to the horses and one donkey.

    Photo by Beth Reynolds
    Triniti Reil, 3, and her mother Beth Reil of Erving feed "Relish" a mini Pinto horse at Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls, which hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. Behind her are her brothers Kevin and Jivason Reil, both 10 and cousin Josiah Tondryk, 3. The children fed apples and carrots to the horses and one donkey.

  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. "Blondie" is a miniature palomino horse. "They just bring so much joy, they are like little puppy dogs," said Debbie Austin, one of the owners who brought horses to show.
  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Kevin Reil, 10, enjoys a hot chocolate and shares a moment with Danny, a miniature donkey. Kevin, his brother Jivason, sister Triniti and cousin Josiah all fed the miniature horses some carrots and apples. It all took place at a miniature horse expo Saturday, hosted by Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls.
  • Photo by Beth Reynolds<br/>Triniti Reil, 3, and her mother Beth Reil of Erving feed "Relish" a mini Pinto horse at Greenfield Savings Bank in Turners Falls, which hosted a miniature horse expo Saturday. Behind her are her brothers Kevin and Jivason Reil, both 10 and cousin Josiah Tondryk, 3. The children fed apples and carrots to the horses and one donkey.

TURNERS FALLS — Who can say “nay” to half-pint horses?

Not the folks who stopped by Greenfield Savings Bank Saturday Several miniature horses and a tiny donkey accrued plenty of interest.

Deborah Austin of Greenfield’s For Pet’s Sake Farm has been raising minis for almost 10 years. Saturday, she brought two mini mares, Blondie and a friend’s horse, Relish, to the bank.

“They’re so fun to watch, so full of energy,” she said, as Relish led her in circles, tugging at her lead.

Austin also has bigger horses, and particularly likes to watch itty bitty equines interact with their full-sized counterparts.

“The minis don’t realize how small they are,” she explained. “They’ll go right after the bigger horses and when the big ones come at them, they won’t back down.”

To be an official mini, a horse can be no taller than 34 to 38 inches tall at the shoulder, depending on where they’re registered. That makes them about as big as a Great Dane.

While the mini horses aren’t big enough to ride, they’re strong enough to pull a cart carrying two people.

They originated in England, said Austin, where they were bred for their small size and employed in mining, where they’d haul carts back above ground.

The bite-sized breed is easier to care for, too.

Austin said a toolshed can easily be turned into a mini-stable. The miniature horses can be groomed quickly and easily, and their stalls are easier to muck out. It also costs a lot less to feed them.

e_SDLqThe vet bills are the same, though,” said Austin.

The mini-horses seemed to eat plenty, as they spent much of their Saturday mowing the lawn beside the bank.

“They don’t get to eat grass very often, so it’s a real treat for them,” Austin said.

Sometimes, she’ll let them out in her backyard, where they’ll eat their fill of grass and greens.

“They don’t get to go out front, though. My husband is meticulous about the lawn,” she said.

As much fun as it is to enjoy the horses at home, Austin really gets a kick out of taking them on walks.

“We live up by the fairground, and we’ll walk them down Deerfield Street, by the Arbors and back,” she said. “The looks we get from people are so funny.”

The animals drew quite a crowd Saturday, with dozens coming by to pose with them for pictures, learn about the little horses, or just stroke their coarse manes.

“I think they’re very, very furry,” said Braiden Mathieu, 4, who stood about as tall as Relish, the mini-horse. “Their tails are very thick, too.”

He was out running errands with his mother, Amy Dion, of South Deerfield, when they saw the horses and just had to come over.

Though he liked petting the mini-horses, Braiden has his heart set on a smaller pet.

“I still want a bunny!” he exclaimed.

Others couldn’t think of better pets than mini farm animals.

Dani the Donkey has one job at the Wilemans’ farm in Gill.

“She’s quite the character around the barn; she adds a little something to the farm,” said Kori Wileman.

The 9-year-old miniature donkey is her favorite of the animals on the farm, which also include two mini-horses and a couple full-sized ones. “She’s really sweet, and easy to handle.”

Still, Dani can be as stubborn as her bigger cousins.

“She was in the Franklin County Fair Parade,” said Tina Wileman. “She kept stopping in the middle of the road, and wouldn’t move.”

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.