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.


Was she bred and raised at Goose Creek Farms?

Yes, Thumbelina was bred and born at Goose Creek Farms in St. Louis, MO.


What about her parents?

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.

Were you trying to breed the world's smallest horse? Or did it just happen by accident?

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.

 


What were her weight and height at birth? She must have been an adorable foal!

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 seen.

How tall is she and much does she weigh?

Thumbelina in 17 ½ inches tall and currently weighs 57 pounds.


What do you feed her?

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.


Does she have a favorite treat?

Thumbelina really enjoys pieces of apple and carrots.


Is she house trained?

No, Thumbelina is not house trained but she is so tiny that she doesn't really make much of a mess anyway.


Does she live with other horses/mini horses?

Yes, Goose Creek Farms has a herd of about fifty miniature horses so Thumbelina has lots of friends to play with.


Does she have any special friends? If so please tell me about them.

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.

Being small must present some challenges for her. Does she have any health problems or require any special care because of her size?

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.
Also, as a feature of her dwarfism, Thumbelina has somewhat crooked hind legs. To address this challenge, we have had special corrective shoes made for her since she was a baby. As a result, she is able to run and play, just like the other horses. It hasn't slowed her down a bit.

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.
Most of all, I would really love to talk with you about what you are doing for the kids. How long has Thumbelina been visiting children's hospitals and shelters?

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.

 

 


What Charities are you trying to raise money for and how are you going about this?

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:

1. We take donations on Thumbelina's website (
www.worldssmallesthorse.com ).
2. We make Thumbelina available to appear at fundraising events as a special guest. She usually draws thousands of people which enable the events to raise more funds.

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.

How do you transport her?

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 couch nearby.

I'd also like to ask you little bit about Goose Creek Farms and your experience with miniature horses.
How long have you been working with miniature horses?

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 horse business.

Is Thumbelina the first horse you have taken on tour to visit children?
Yes.


How do the children react to her? They must love her!

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.
It's astonishing to see how she affects these kids, especially in hospitals and shelters. They are typically frighten and in places where they would rather not be. Many of them have little reason to smile and have forgotten what it was just to be a kid. But Thumbelina arrives and somehow all of their troubles disappear for while and they remember what it's like to be truly happy again. I am often told by parents that it was the happiest moment in their child's life. It's difficult to describe the feeling I get every time I hear those words. There are precious few things in this world that can do what Thumbelina can do. With all of her imperfections, Thumbelina is a perfect miracle to those children.

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.

Any final words?

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.

Thanks so much for allowing us the opportunity to interview you about this special little horse.

www.WorldsSmallestHorse.com

 

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