The World's Smallest Horse
Michael Goessling, of Thumbelina Charitable Foundation, answers some questions about Thumbelina, the world's smallest horse. Interview by Caterina Tadlock.
Yes, Thumbelina was bred and born at Goose Creek Farms in St. Louis, MO.
Her parents were both
registered Miniature horses. We owned both the Mare and Sire.
Both parents are very sweet horses, like most minis. Both parents
were about 29 inches.
We absolutely were not breeding for the world's smallest horse. Dwarfism is not something that should ever be breed for in horses. We will never breed Thumbelina. Dwarf horses tend to be very sickly and usually don't survive long. Thumbelina was a complete surprise. She was bred to be about twice her size but God had other plans for her. Fortunately, she is perfectly healthy and a true blessing for us and for countless children around the world.
Thumbelina was born on
May 1st, 2001, so she is currently 6 years old. Thumbelina weighed
about 8 or 9 pounds and stood about 10 inches tall. We could not
believe our eyes. She was the most incredible thing we had ever
How tall is she and much does she weigh?
Thumbelina in 17 ½ inches tall and currently weighs 57 pounds.
Thumbelina's diet is the same as most horses, although portion control is very important in her case. On a typical day, Thumbelina enjoys 1 cup of pellet feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon. She also gets small amounts of hay throughout the day so that she always has something to nibble on.
Thumbelina really enjoys pieces of apple and carrots.
No, Thumbelina is not house trained but she is so tiny that she doesn't really make much of a mess anyway.
Yes, Goose Creek Farms has a herd of about fifty miniature horses so Thumbelina has lots of friends to play with.
Thumbelina seems to enjoy
spending time with children above all others and since there always
seems to be children around, she is never bored. Thumbelina also
has a guard dog named Castica. The two are so close that they
sometime eat each others food.
As a baby, Thumbelina
had difficulty nursing because she was so small. But she was very
determined to survive so she simply persisted until she and her
mother worked it out. We were very relieved that her mother accepted
Thumbelina as a perfectly normal baby.
Otherwise, Thumbelina is perfectly healthy.
How do you think she feels about being so small?
I don't believe that
Thumbelina has any idea that she is so tiny. She is fearless and
acts as though she is a giant. She bosses all of the other horses
around. She is even bossy with very large horses and even with
the elephants that she gets to meet at various circuses. It's
amazing to watch. I'm not sure how she gets away with it.
Once Thumbelina became so famous, we decided to create the 'Thumbelina Charitable Foundation' in an attempt to redirect all of the attention and affection that she was receiving from around the world toward needy children and the charities that serve them. We then decided that we could better promote this campaign by taking Thumbelina to visit these children at these facilities across the country. So the Thumbelina Children's Tour' began in the spring of this year and will continue thru the fall. Our goal is to visit sick, needy, troubled, abused and disabled children in all forty-eight continental states and Washington DC.
Where exactly does she go?
To date, Thumbelina and I have traveled 27,000 miles to visit hospitals, therapeutic rider centers, special camps and schools, group homes and shelters in 39 states and Washington DC.
The list of children's
charities that we've decide to support is extensive and getting
longer all of the time. We have posted our current list on the
website ( www.worldssmallesthorse.com).
Our second goal of this tour is to somehow raise $1 M for children's
charities. We do this anyway we can. For example:
3. From time to time, we will also permit certain charities to auction off a special private event with Thumbelina, such as birthday parties and corporate functions. Of course, the proceeds of the auction go to benefit the charity.
4. We are currently seeking corporate sponsors to help Thumbelina reach her goal.
Does Thumbelina enjoy traveling?
Thumbelina seems to love
touring the country to visit the kids. We watch her very closely
to make sure that she gets plenty of rest and is never under any
distress. She sees the vet every month and she is doing great.
Thumbelina travels in
style. She is touring the country in her own ThumbyMobile, which
is a 30 ft. RV converted into her stable-on-wheels. The entire
back space of the vehicle is Thumbelina's private room with a
door, an air conditioner and a side-loading ramp. It also contains
all of her food, bedding, grooming supplies, and even her dog
house that she sleeps in back home on the farm. I sleep on the
The farm is run primarily
by my mother, Kay Goessling, who announced to my father 16 years
ago that she had decided to raise minis. To which my father replied,
"mini what?" Ever since then, we've been in the miniature
Since the day she was
born, children light up
when they meet Thumbelina. She has such a special connection with
children and it's the reason we've devoted Thumbelina to helping
children in need.
Do you have any special moments/memories that you would like to share with us?
The tour has been full
of so many profound moments. From town to town, Thumbelina is
changing the lives of thousands of children. It has been the most
gratifying experience of my life. I knew that the 'Thumbelina
Children's Tour' it was a good idea, but I certainly underestimated
the impact it would have on the kids, the charities and their
staff, and on her millions of fans around the world. And I certainly
never guessed that it would change my life in so many ways.
If any one would like
to help us fulfill Thumbelina mission, please feel free to contact
us through the website (
www.worldssmallesthorse.com). We certainly welcome any support
we can get, even moral support. Thanks to everyone who has taken
an interest in Thumbelina.
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