Bad find at the fair

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Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2003
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Today is the first day of our fair and I always have to go into the petting zoo first thing. When I walked in I looked over and saw a mini. I got closer and realized it was a dwarf with a sign above it saying "Miniature Horse." I walked up to the guy running it and asked him if that was a dwarf mini over there. He said no it's not if it was a dwarf then it's head would be bigger than it's body. I told the guy, I've been breeding minis for 10 years, I know a dwarf when I see one. First off, he's trying to pass a dwarf on as a representation of our breed and second isn't it harder on a dwarf to travel since their legs aren't as strong? I tried telling the guy this in a nice tone but he got jerky about it. What do you think I should do? I've thought about going into the fair office and talking to them. If anything, the people won't be asked back next year. BUT that won't stop him from going to other fairs. Sunday is the miniature horse show and I thought about getting all the breeders to go visit the petting zoo and tell this guy off. I also planned on printing off pictures of dwarfs that look exactly like that poor little guy that he had and telling him to compare. What do you all think?
Well this certainly is not what we like to see but you need to tread carefully. Libel laws and people today being litigation crazed you could find yourself in a bad position. I think your best course of action might be with your local SPCA who routinely look at fairs etc. Your might also consider a quiet personal phone call to the fair superintendent or director. There are many knowledgeable people on this site and might have other methods you might be able to pursue. If the exhibitor owns the horse and provides for its needs there might be little to do.
Look, I completely understand why as a responsible breeder of miniature horses you would not want a dwarf represented to the public as an example of our breed. People assume they all look like that, that the dwarf is an example of a correct mini, etc. But at the same time that dwarf IS a miniature horse (with a genetic problem) and there is no rule that says he must be hidden behind a house somewhere because gosh forbid someone should see his little less-than-perfect self. At least he's out there making kids happy.

Since your concern seems to be more with the education of the public then anything else, perhaps you could post an informational poster prominently in the barns during the miniature horse show educating people about dwarfism and what makes a good mini? I think that would be more productive then freaking out on this guy en masse. I wasn't there, I didn't see him or how he treated the animal, but it's possible he simply doesn't know and in the end figures (like I would) that barring health concerns a petting zoo is a great place for an otherwise unusable but friendly horse. Of course our petting zoos at the fair are all run by local folk who bring their pets for a couple days, not a traveling string of animals. But still. ::shrug::

It's really hard to tell people that their animals are less than perfect, and sometimes it's none of our business because it isn't harming anyone. (Not necessarily saying that is the case here, but you DO have a miniature horse show on Sunday to properly educate the public at.) Folk usually have to come to that kind of sad realization by self-education or they will interpret it as nothing more than an unwarranted attack on their loved one. That's simply human nature. Maybe if this guy sees your poster with pictures of a horse just like his, he'll figure it out.

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I agree- so long as the animal is in good health and being correctly looked after- well, I would rather a well looked after Dwarf than that poor, ill treated little guy we saw posted the other day!!!

Your best bet is to do as Leia suggests- and perhaps get some other, sensible, breeders to go and see him and tell him the same as you, in and acceptable way. At the very least he could change his sign to "Dwarf Miniature Horse"!!!
Depends on the condition of the horse..I hate that he would be used like that too, but if he's healthy you don't have much to go on..what about the other animals there? Do they look healthy? Are they in good set up? I wis you luck and more than that I wish for luck for that little one and all the other little ones that might be exploited like that..

ALSO where did he get the horse.? SOMEONE sold him that horse, so that leads to seller responsibility for at least trying to place horses in good homes..

My son in law has been at auctions before and he says dwarf minis bring BIG money so that promotes people selling at ramdom.NOt anyone like those of us on here but you know what I mean..too bad.

I called the fair office today and they said there is nothing they can do. I asked them if they can't talk to the guy and try to get him to take the sign down. They said they would talk to him. They did tell me that the guy is out of Peoria, IL. I agree with you that if the horse is in good condition that he should be left alone...BUT our breed is being missrepresented here and I think we should do what we have to in order to protect our breed. To me, the animals could be taken care of better than they are. But my animals are treated like royalty so I can't really say much. They did all look to be in good health. All I want is for the guy to not try and pass a dwarf on as what our breed is supposed to be. And I doubt he will be at the show on Sunday, he's only at the fair to make money. You can tell this just by talking to the guy.

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