There is evidence as to the existence of very small horses in the Far East as early as 3,000 B.C. According to the International Miniature Horse Registry Directory, the first miniature horses were bred by the royal courts of Europe as pets and playmates for young princes and princesses of the day. Over the centuries, the miniatures were sold to circuses and were used in coal mines to pull carts, no longer the pampered pets of royalty. The miniatures in Europe survived and as early as the 1800's, a few entered the United States with shiploads of imported horses from Europe.
What is a Miniature Horse Good For?
Basically, they are lovable equine pets who give a great deal of pleasure and smiles. More often than naught, minis behave like a faithful, curious dog rather than a horse. Minis are intelligent and have a good disposition. They are rugged and sturdy little guys. Minis can be trained to pull a cart and most can pull two adults with ease. Small children (under 50 pounds) can ride them.
Why Does Case Ranch Inn have Miniature Horses?
While investigating activities suitable for both the elderly and young children, Barbara, the owner of Case Ranch Inn, discovered miniature horse farms in the area. After her own family (from ages 4 to 86) thoroughly enjoyed a miniature horse farm visit in Novato, Barbara caught the miniature horse bug. After building a mini red barn and fences for two pasture areas, Eclipse (a 13 year old white mini, very gentle, trained to pull a cart) and Phoenix (his 6 year old brown younger brother [a bit more independent at this stage - being a teenage mini - since minis live to age 30] became residents of Case Ranch Inn.
Guests Enjoy the Minis
Barbara's guests enjoy visiting the minis and occasionally give them an apple from the two nearby apple trees. Sometimes people even like to take their photos with Eclipse and Phoenix while they graze either in the front yard or one of the pasture areas.