Isn't he just gorgeous? Well that's a mothers view of course. And to be honest, he is always very popular at 'open garden' days and family functions. His name is Hunter and he is a miniature horse,very much part of our family. The dogs are great companions of his too, often found sitting with him while he crops the lawn.
He is 13 years old this year, which is probably the adolescent stage of his life, as mini's can live 30 years and more! That being said, a horse is a lifetime pet and not just a whim, so it was a big decision based on whether I was prepared to look after him for a very long time to come - because we all know that children grow up and leave home and the pets usually stay! When my children and I went to first view him at a property near Goulburn, NSW, he was only 6 weeks old and truly the cutest little thing we'd ever seen, frisking about his mother. Then, when he was weaned at 6 months old, he was delivered to our Bloomfield Cottage property where we had prepared his own fenced off area and built a small manger for protection from weather and feeding. He was the same size as our golden retriever at this time and was very popular with all the neighbourhood children!
He has been a great companion while I'm in the veggie patch as his corral is right next to it. He will whinny and neigh his hellos and we often have a little nuzzle and a kiss on his soft nose. Hunter always gets little treats from the veggie patch but usually we tie him to a strong stake around the lawn so he can crop at leisure - he is definitely not to be trusted anywhere near the garden beds or the roses - which I might add are his favorite.
When he was little, the girls used to comb and platte his mane with beads and all sorts of pretty ribbons - poor boy. But these days his grooming is left to me and I just brush him occasionally and trim his tail and fringe. We don't cover him with a blanket in winter, so he grows this amazing thick fluffy coat to keep warm. If you run your fingers through it you cant feel his skin at all it's so thick.
He got quite sick once, about 6 years ago, and we rushed him to our local equine veterinary hospital. We had the vet out the week prior because he wasn't eating or pooping - very bad for horses! They operated immediately on him and removed two large 'stones' from his stomach that was blocking all functions. We kept them as a reminder to keep his diet plain and regular and he has been fine ever since. The stones feel like pumice stone and smell of chaff. The vets are not sure what causes them
but they usually occur in the spring, which this did.
He is a wonderful part of this lifestyle living, and his manure is always greatly appreciated in the gardens and worm farm. Like all animals he is wormed regularly - we don't put that manure in the worm farm though.
Hunter is just one of the many animals we have at Bloomfield Cottage that makes this a fulfilled and busy lifestyle.