DANVILLE — For 15 years, Becky Zeune has raised miniature horses in Danville. Her first miniature horse, Patchy, spurred her enthusiasm for the petite equine.
“We’ve always had horses,” said Zeune. “We’ve been here for 15 years; I got Patchy when we went to the Marion County Fair. He was 2 months old.”
Her fondness for the miniatures grew, and before she knew it, her 11-acre farm became home to 30 miniatures.
“[Miniature horses] are like potato chips, you can’t just have one,” she laughed.
She bought her second miniature horse, a mare that had a foal, then three more. Before long, she bought a stallion and began to breed the miniatures.
All of her miniature horses are registered with American Miniature Horse Association, so they are 34 inches or smaller and can weigh anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds.
Despite their small stature, there is a lot excitement to be had with miniature horses.
“You can drive miniature horses and small children can ride them — up to 50 pounds,” she said. “You can show them, and you can take them to nursing homes. I showed my stallion three years ago at the Kentucky Horse Park, and that was fun. I also showed him at the eastern regional event, but I’m not much into showing.”
Miniature horses can be seen at fairs, festivals and parades, and Zeune has taken them to schools.
“They make the best pets,” she said. “We let our grandchildren ride them and they’re just attached to them. I have a 2-year-old granddaughter who just loves them. I’ll put a saddle on and she just rides one of them.”
Miniature horses have a gentle temperament, said Zeune, which makes them a great companion and fun to work with.
As far as the health of miniature horses, Zeune said they are really healthy animals and tend to be easy keepers, but it doesn’t take much for them to get overweight.
“I know some say they have a lot of trouble keeping weight on [miniature horses], but I don’t think we had any trouble keeping weight on ours,” she said. “Actually, we’ve had to put a few of them on diets.”
Zeune said miniatures can have similar health problems as do big horses, such as colic.