World's Smallest Horse Visits Wildwood
Thumbelina, deemed the world's smallest horse by Guinness World Records, was part of Sunday's fundraising event to benefit MERS Large Animal Rescue. Many people of all ages loved getting their picture taken with her.
Thumbelina may be considered only 17 inches tall, but the ambiance and personality that the world's smallest horse projects is more like 17 feet. Maybe 17 miles high.
She resides in Ladue, MO, with owners Paul and Kay Goessling, who brought her to Sunday's Horseback Poker Run in Wildwood to raise funds for Missouri Emergency Response Service (MERS) Large Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization based from Wildwood that services the St. Louis and surrounding Illinois region through specially trained volunteers and emergency response professionals.
"Thumbelina is a little bossy, but is very sweet," said Kay. "She pretty independent and rules the roost."
The Goesslings have 50 other horses at their Goose Creek Farms. Thumbelina, who is 11 years old, boards in a dog Igloo, but has direct "doggie door" access to their equine barn's office, which is heated and cooled year-round.
However, Kay said Thumbelina is out with all the other horses, and they respect her. "They leave her hay alone; she holds her own, which I love."
"I don't think Thumbelina has ever realized she's small."
Paul said Thumbelina is the mascot for the national, nonprofit organization Little People of America, which is headquartered in California.
He said when the National History Musuem in New York opened a new exhibit about horses, they asked that Thumbelina participate as the mascot of the event. He said they determined she was the smallest horse in the last 55 million years.
Thumbelina is considered to be a dwarf miniature horse. Paul said it was very enjoyable when the Guiness World Record people took her photo with the world's largest horse, a Belgian. "That large horse never phased her. She's the boss," he said.
He said they did not realize she was so small when she was born. "It was a difficult birth and frankly, we had to be very focused on the mare."
Thumbelina eats the same Purina horse feed that the Goesslings' other horses do, but she does have her own farrier, who develops special plastic shoes for her hooves.
She also has her own charitable foundation, cell phone, recreational vehicle and P.O. Box number.
Kay said their dog, Casey, is protective of Thumbelina, snapping at the other horses if they get near his food, but never at Thumbelina.
Because Thumbelina can get under anything, Kay said she tends to go wherever she wants. "We've been at neighbors' houses, and all of a sudden seen Thumbelina strolling down the street."
"But she knows she's not supposed to do that, because when you yell 'you better get home,' she runs just as fast as those four little legs will take her."
Thumbelina has made TV appearances, such as The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah. Paul said one time his son, Michael, had Thumbelina in New York and the local police were not comfortable with her boarding with their horses, as she had done before, due to shootings that had been occurring near the mounted patrol area.
"A television executive with a condo said he wasn't using it, and told Michael and Thumbelina to stay there during the trip. So Thumbelina has even stayed in the kitchen of a $5 million condo in New York," he said.
(For a summary of the MERS Large Animal Rescue benefit that Thumbelina and the Goesslings supported on Sunday, see related Eureka-Wildwood Patch articles:)
Editor's Note: Check back with Eureka-Wildwood Patch for a photo gallery of fans who posed with Thumbelina on Sunday while she was in Wildwood for a benefit event.