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Mini Horses Pull Buggies To Entertain
"I didn't realize I'd enjoy miniature horses as much as I do," says Bill Schwandt of Morton, Minn. He owns 25 tiny horses that are no more than 38 in. tall. He built buggies for them to pull and books them for anniversary parties, birthdays and other celebrations for a small fee.
  Schwandt purchased his first miniature horses after an accident in 1997. When cleaning the snow off his machine shed, he fell and broke his back. The next month he sold his dairy cows.
  After he recovered he felt a void.
  "I needed some chores," Schwandt says. "When you're used to taking care of cows all your life, it was like losing friends."
  He decided to try horses - just two miniatures that would be easy to handle. Though they were small they proved to be addictive. The herd grew.
  "I've probably got too many, but I have hay and crops. And I still have my old dairy barn," Schwandt says. The horses are very hardy, but he puts them inside at night during the winter. Feed costs for the 250 to 350-lb. horses are reasonable. A small square hay bale lasts a mini horse a week, and they only need a few oats.
  But other costs are just as much for mini horses as they are for full-size horses, Schwandt says. He has trained 12 of the horses to pull a cart and invested in harnesses, custom collars and a 28-ft. livestock trailer to take them and his two homemade buggies to events. The miniature horses need vaccinations and the same health program as all horses.
  "They have a mind of their own, but they aren't hard to train to drive," Schwandt says. "It's a matter of hooking them up and doing it. I have stallions that I've broken to drive."
  Raising miniature horses is not a cheap hobby, Schwandt adds. While some of the horses can be purchased for $200, they often range between $500 and $1,000.
  For more information about miniature horses, Schwandt suggests going to the American Miniature Horse Association website at www.amha.org.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bill Schwandt, 39428 310th St., Morton, Minn. 56270 (ph 507 249-3833).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6