A Few Hands of Trouble

Small Horse, Big Attitude

By Paige Nelson

Growing up on a large cattle ranch taught me what I needed to know about horses. I have been riding since I can remember and have always loved it.

Even so, I don’t know everything, and for the most part I’ve worked with full-sized horses, so when I brought home my first miniature horse, I thought she would be similar to the quarter horses I grew up with. Guess what? I experienced a miniature paradigm shift.

I found Sage in the local classifieds. She was just what I had been searching for: a miniature with nice coloring, close to where I lived, and an asking price of $300. My husband had mixed feelings about ownership of a miniature horse. In his very logical engineering mind, it was ridiculous to purchase a miniature. Why not buy a full-sized horse I could ride?

Anyhow, I wanted one.

She lived seven miles from my house. It was a nice spring day in May when I went to see her for the first time. The seller, Nancy, and I walked to the horse pasture. Sage was engaged in a game of speeding around her corral at breakneck miniature speed. She and her playmate would give each other “the look,” take off sprinting the length of the pen, throw in a few six-inch-off-the-ground bucks, and then whirl around to do it again.

I melted. She had a gorgeous deep brown body with long, flaxen mane. She had great movement in her front legs—a little less so in her hind end, but it didn’t seem to affect her as she ran, jumped, and bucked her way around the pen. Her thirty-eight-inch height was taller than I had been hoping for, but her perfectly shaped head and round muscled rump was enough for me. 

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