She may be tiny, standing at only 44.5 centimeters tall, but Thumbelina brings a whole lot of joy and smiles to children all across America. She is a dwarf miniature pony and weighs just 26 kilograms, which makes her about the size of an average dog. That is not the only thing she shares in common with dogs. She spends her days bringing comfort and love to children all over the map, just like a therapy dog would do, but call her a therapy horse instead!
Thumbelina was born at Goose Creek Farm, outside of St. Louis, Missouri, to owners Paul and Kay Goessling on May 1, 2001. She turned out so little that she can officially be called the world’s smallest horse. In fact, she is the shortest horse in history and has a Guinness Word Record to prove it! However, she wasn’t bred to be this tiny and was born with a genetic condition; dwarfism. Her parents are average sized miniature horses and almost double the size of their cute little baby. She came out as what her owner describes a “fluke,” but her personality and star power are anything but that.
She is a very calm, gentle, and loving miniature pony. Because she has such a great personality, and a world record title, her handler is taking her on a 47 state tour of the USA. They visit local children’s hospitals and meet face to face with special kids, who range from 6 months to 5 years old, so many of them are even taller than Thumbelina is! Their visits give the kids a chance to get outside and interact with her up close and personal. They are always free to touch and pet her, which for many is a new experience that brings them joy and happiness. Plus, because she is so tiny the kids feel comfortable and at ease around her.
Another similarity that she shares in common with dogs is the fact that she travels in a dog house on tour. Thumbelina was a baby when she went into the dog’s house, fell in love with it, and refused to vacate the premises until the dog was gone. After she claimed her new digs she said goodbye to her stall in the the barn for good and now calls it home. That story just makes her all the more adorable and endearing!