The Symmetry And Agility Of Miniature Horses

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Miniature Horses are versatile.

At the recent Payson birthday celebration, the Mini Mystique miniature horses, pulling carts containing full-size people, did an amazing drill team routine. Being a former horse owner, I made a special effort to see these little guys.

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Miniature horses love to work. The Mini Mystique drill team performed at the recent Payson birthday celebration.

A miniature horse is not a pony. It is a scaled-down version of the large-size horse.

They cannot be taller than 34 inches at the withers, as measured from the last hairs of the mane. A newborn foal is from 16 to 21 inches tall.

Desired characteristics are a general impression of symmetry, strength, agility and alertness. According to the American Miniature Horse Association, the breed objective is the smallest possible, perfect horse. These adorable little guys come in all coat colors and patterns and are enjoyed throughout the world as show partners, companions and investments. They are puppy-like, wanting to play. Ann Kosin of Beaver Valley says if you give them 100 percent, they will give back 200 percent.

These miniature horses can be ridden by only the smallest child. Primarily, they are driven. There are competitions and events throughout the world featuring these horses in halter, driving, agility, jumping, costume and other classes. There is a youth division for children 17 and under which has special events, competitions and gatherings. There are also events for special-needs individuals.

Ron Souza, spokesman for the group appearing in Payson, has 28 of these little horses. He raises, trains and sells them. He also loves to talk about them. He lives in Apache Junction and would be happy to show off his herd. The history of these miniatures dates back 400 years. Ron says they were originally used to pull coal cars underground. They are farm animals and love to work.

Miniature horses, since they cannot be ridden, are very adept at learning to drive. Most owners just enjoy a pleasure drive down a country road. However, many enjoy competing at both the professional and amateur level. Driving classes include pleasure, roadster and obstacle driving, with both single and multiple hitches.

Many of these small horses visit nursing homes and hospitals, delighting everyone.

The Mini Mystique drill team appeared in last year's Rose Bowl and will do a repeat performance this year. The team gets together weekly when preparing for an event. Otherwise, they practice every three weeks. The team is made up of 15 horse and people teams. Their routine is terrific, including cross-overs, pass-throughs and pinwheels, all done to music. The horses love it. Ron says their ears go forward when the music starts.

If I did not have three dogs and a small RV, I would have one of these adorable little horses. They are, compared to full-size horses, inexpensive to feed and care for. They need their hoofs trimmed, dental care and vet visits regularly. Every possible piece of equipment is available in miniature for them. They are hauled around in miniature horse trailers. Miniature horses thrive on pasture, sunshine and room to run and play.

For more information about the terrific drill team that was in Payson, go to www.minimystique.org. For information about the American Miniature Horse Association, check out www.amha.com.

Dog Day in the Park is tomorrow, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lots of fun for dogs and their people. Nicely behaved dogs are welcome on 4- to 6-foot leashes.

A low-cost rabies clinic, sponsored by Payson, Star Valley and Gila County Rabies Control, will be Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Main Street Animal Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Another spay and neuter clinic will be Tuesday, Nov. 13, sponsored by the Payson Humane Society. Call 888 241-9731 to make an appointment. Call the shelter, 928 474-5590, for more information.

Get your tickets now for The Payson Humane Society's annual Chili Supper which is from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Elks Lodge. Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $4 for children under 12. They are available at the Payson library and the humane society. Chances are good that you can buy them at the humane society's booth at Dog Day in the Park. You can also buy them at the door.

Wonder Dogs Ltd., has workshops for service, therapy home-help and seniors' companion dogs on the first Saturday and the third Friday of each month in the meeting room of the Payson library. Please call Rita Givens, 928 468-6888, prior to attending.

October is Adopt A Dog month. A wonderful selection of dogs available for adoption will be at the humane society's booth at Dog Day in the Park tomorrow.

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