Minot miniature horse considered one of the smallest
MANDAN, N.D. -- Standing at 21 inches tall and weighing 56 pounds, Bella is not your ordinary five-month old girl. And with good reason. She is a miniature foal who may just be the world's smallest horse. Born on May 12 at the Mystic Rock Miniatu...
MANDAN, N.D. -- Standing at 21 inches tall and weighing 56 pounds, Bella is not your ordinary five-month old girl.
And with good reason. She is a miniature foal who may just be the world's smallest horse.
Born on May 12 at the Mystic Rock Miniatures farm in Oklahoma City, Okla., Bella Contessa was gifted to Alison Smith, the founder of Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue, Mandan, from her friend, Diana Gilger, who owns Mystic Rock with her husband. Bella arrived in North Dakota on Sept. 26.
Bella is indeed something special, if not diminutive. The typical miniature foal, when born, is anywhere between 18 and 22 inches high. Bella was 15 inches. At birth, a typical foal weighs 20 to 22 pounds. Bella weighed 9, Smith said.
Smith calls Bella's stature a "fluke" as Bella's mother has had "several, several non-dwarf foals."
"The mother to Bella is 29 1/2 inches, and the sire was 26 1/ 2 inches," Smith said. "She's got small genetics going on anyway. It's a fluke, no doubt. She has seen three different vets, all who have said she is the smallest horse they had ever seen with perfect conformation. She has no dwarf characteristics, no health issues, no leg issues, she's just a tiny little miniature horse, but that's perfect."
But, is Bella the smallest horse in the world? That is a job for the Guinness Book of World Records, which, in time, will roll out the measuring tape to see. But that won't take place for a few more years.
"Our guidelines are that the horse must be four calendar years old to be measured," said Sara Wilcox, a PR and marketing assistant for Guinness World Records.
Smith noted that by the end of the horse's first year, it will have achieved 90 percent of its height.
Standing in the way of Bella's glory is a similar miniature horse, a pinto colt named Einstein, that was born in New Hampshire in late April, a few weeks before Bella, and has "taken the world by storm," Smith said.
"We had no idea that we had one that was equally as small," Smith said of Bella's comparison to Einstein.
According to the Guinness World Records Web site, Einstein "is said to be 14 inches tall and weigh 6 pounds. That has led to speculation that Einstein is the world's smallest living horse."
Smith claimed that Einstein has "grown a bit."
"I feel it will be (a close race). At this point, it could turn out to be anybody's game (because both horses will face some growth). The question is: how much?"
Guinness does have a world's smallest horse category. According to Wilcox, the smallest living horse is Thumbelina, a miniature sorrel brown mare that measures 17 1/2 inches. The record has been maintained by Thumbelina since July 7, 2006.
This horse, however, is a dwarf, whereas Bella and Einstein are not, Smith said. She added that Einstein's owners petitioned to have a "non dwarf horse" category.
"At this point, we don't differentiate between a miniature horse and a miniature horse with dwarf characteristics," Wilcox explained. "I do see that in Einstein's owners' original claim they mentioned separating the two. A new category has not yet been opened by our records management team, though."
Should the category be created, Smith said there will be a competitor in Bella. "Even if it doesn't, she's still, at this point ... she would still be the smallest non-dwarf philly," Smith said. "I don't need a record or a book to tell me that, but it's fun and of interest."
Unless another miniature horse of similar, if not smaller, stature surfaces, it will be a case of Bella v. Einstein.
"I just brought this out to the public this past week," Smith said. "Now we're getting a lot of calls. Not a ton. I'm not showcasing her or traveling around with her that's just not what I would ever do. But, if there was someplace local that wanted her to come visit, I would do that. It's a great comparison to see a miniature horse and a full-size horse."
In the meanwhile, Bella is "just living like a horse in a corral, nothing special."