World’s smallest horse

12 09 2006


Top photo: Mumbai Mirror

Thumbelina, world's smallest horse

(The world’s largest horses are here)

Meet Thumbelina, 17.5″ at the withers. That’s 4.1-1/2 hands.

Outside the horse barn at Kay and Paul Goessling’s Goose Creek Farm in Ladue, a trio of miniature horses is moseying around the mostly grassless corral – thanks to the tramping of many tiny hoofs – nibbling bites here and there. Kay Goessling, 65, who began raising petite equines about 15 years ago, introduces these as Mocha, a blue roan; Rosie, a dark palomino; and White Cloud, a cream-colored palomino. She notes that none of the three stands taller than 34 inches at the “withers” (the ridge between the shoulder bones). Then, to a background of whinnying from stalls inside the barn, another trio bolts into the corral, slipping under the barn gate, which clears the ground by a foot and a half or so. Two of these three are highly energized black cocker spaniels, Duke and Bear, who rush to greet visitors. The third, a little more sedate and quite a bit more portly, is, well, just about the cutest thing you ever saw.

“Meet Thumbelina,” says Kay Goessling with a wide smile. “As of July, according to the Guinness World Record Book people, she is officially the world’s smallest living horse.” The framed certificate from Guinness, which hangs in the barn office, refers to her as a “miniature sorrel brown mare.”

ThumbelinaThe little creature, born five years ago, stands a mere 17 1/2 inches tall at the withers, roughly the stature of a medium-size dog, and weighs about 60 pounds. She is a dwarf miniature, says Goessling, who helped with the difficult delivery the night Thumbelina entered this world weighing about 10 pounds; a normal miniature horse weighs about 25 pounds at birth. “She was too tiny to nurse; we didn’t see how she could survive,” Goessling said. “But she surprised us by jumping up right away, and doing all the things a normal newborn horse does.” (Because they produced a dwarf, Thumbelina’s parents were not bred again; the stallion was gelded, and both have since been sold as pets.)

From certain angles, at a glance, Thumbelina could be a tiny buffalo. From others, a potbellied pig. She has a barrel-like body, knobby legs with hoofs that turn under but have been corrected by a farrier with layers of acrylic, a lumpy little head with a white blaze down her face, and a serious underbite. And although she is by far the smallest of the farm’s 47 miniatures, she “rules the roost,” Goessling said.

Thumbelina owes her notoriety and status as the “world’s smallest horse” to the Goessling’s son Michael, 39, who two years ago – when the tiny mare turned three and was thus considered adult – “thought it would be fun to see if she qualified,” his mother said. “We knew that the previous ‘smallest according to Guinness,’ also a dwarf, was bigger, 19 inches tall,” Goessling said. “Michael talked with Thumbelina’s vet, Stu Robson, who in turn filled out the necessary paperwork to send to Guinness in London.” After that there was a long wait with no word – until this summer, when a Guinness representative wrote the Goesslings to say a film crew from England would arrive at their farm today to photograph the tiny mare.

And then another surprise from Guinness: On Sunday, the biggest living horse, according to the World Record Book, will arrive at Goose Creek Farm to be photographed with the smallest. The mighty steed, Radar, a fawn colored Belgian draft horse, towers to 19 hands 3 1/2-inches (6 feet 7 1/2-inches) at the withers. Weighing in at 2,400 pounds, he is somewhere around 40 times bigger than Thumbelina, Goessling said.

Born in Iowa, Radar was purchased by Tracy Smith of Priefert Ranch Equipment, and now, when he isn’t “on the road promoting the company,” he resides in Mount Pleasant, Texas, she said. He maintains a busy schedule, traveling in a specially built horse trailer (to accommodate his stature) some 210 days a year, the Goesslings have been told.

The photographers from Guinness also requested a little “cowboy” and “cowgirl” to lend a “nice touch” to the pictures, Goessling said. Grandson Paul Henry Goessling, 4, son of the Goesslings’ son Paul, and Kate Schrichte, 7, daughter of Cindy and Eric Schrichte, caretakers at the Goesslings’ other miniature horse farm in Wildwood, will do the honors, decked out in appropriate costumes, she said. Asked how all the notoriety might change Thumbelina, Goessling said, smiling, “I doubt she’ll notice.”

Already the little horse sees frequent visitors and “loves people, especially children.” And occasionally she is the star attraction at church picnics and other similar events, although “too much attention exhausts her,” Goessling said. The family also plans for Thumbelina to make appearances at several regional attractions (Grant’s Farm and Silver Dollar City are among those being considered), where she could be photographed with admirers. (Information about her appearances is supposed to go online soon at

All the fanfare will also probably not much affect her regular routine, which includes getting frequent baths with a hose (not one of Thumbelina’s favorite activities) and other grooming, and wandering wherever she likes “because she’s little enough to get under the fences.” She also chews on untied shoelaces whenever possible, and often goes for rides in the car sitting in the backseat “where she can look out the window.”

And not only does Thumbelina not travel in a horse trailer, she also doesn’t bed down in a stall as the farm’s other horses do. Her mattress is wood shavings in an igloo doghouse in the barn, leaving her free to come and go at will. Her diet includes hay, equine pellets, and “grass when she escapes the corral, which makes it hard to control her weight,” Goessling said.

Nonetheless, unlike most dwarf horses, she has few health issues, and should live to be about 16 (a normal miniature can live twice that long).

“Thumbelina is very special,” Goessling said. “We just love her.”

We had a cat that size once.



60 responses

14 09 2006

OMG!! how adorable……I cannot imagine having such a small horse, it’d get lost at my barn fer sure 😉

9 10 2006
Top 15 posts « Bridlepath

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13 10 2006

Thumbelina is gorgeous!!! He must be sooo spoiled! I would spoil that little horsey rotten! He is beautiful!

9 11 2006
Top 15 posts, 2006-11-09 « Bridlepath

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13 11 2006
Thumbelina Fan Numero Uno

It’s not a fucking he, it’s a she FFS.

28 11 2006
thumbelina fan2


14 12 2006
Bloggeries Blog Reviews » Blog Archive » Bridlepath blog about horses

[…] The design is a edited version of a basic wordpress theme, however the colors go well together and the whole site blends well. The header image is somewhat generic and can draw the user away by in essence showing the site not to have to much unique content, however once the user looks past the header they will be pleased with the content. The main design was broken when I looked in IE, the menu that provides links to other areas of the blogs was stuck down near the bottom of the page, I suspect this to be due to the size of some of the images used in the blog, and in turn some users may get confused by the lack of menu where they would normally look. However the menu is clean and provides many links to useful resources, however the blog does also contain some rather excessive amount of links to both Blogging tools and other horse blogs, with around 100 outbound links on the main menu some users may think that the blog owner almost wants them to leave there blog and go somewhere else. The menu contains the ‘top posts’, there is no way of finding out how ‘top posts’ is defined, however one would guess it is the most read posts, and in which this is a very handy tool to interest the user and get them to the content that others liked, world example at the time of writing this post the top post is a topic about the world’s smallest horse. I do somewhat feel that the blogger has tried to stick to much into one blog, when looking over at the Categories the visitor sees the normal horse related topics such as books, history and more, however they also see rather random categories such as Paranormal, Spookies!. Despite these still relating to horses they are rather oddly placed in a site that one could see as being a good resource. I feel like categories of such content could work well own there own blog, however do not work as well if blended with other blog posts. […]

12 01 2007

Worlds Smallest Horse

Bridle path is an awesome blog they always have cool horse stuff. Look how cute this horse is!

28 01 2007

I agree that you have an awesome blog.

With regard to this post I do want to say though that I do not approve of the human preoccupation with continued breeding leading to the miniaturization of horses as though they were toys like teddy bears. This kind of sensationalization of smallness does not impress me. It depresses me. 😦

28 01 2007

Thanks for the nice words. 🙂

I’ve written several posts on how people mess up animals through careless breeding (check the Horse Breeding category). Thumbelina is cute but she does show signs of dwarfism. Then again, I also hate how so many Oriental dog and cat breeds have flat faces–what exactly do they have against SNOUTS in Asia?!

8 02 2007

LMAO That look’s more like paint my pinto stallion soft toy only a wee bit bigger and she dosn’t even sleep in the barn that is amazing can she wear halters or is she to small? Do you have them costom made or some thing if she wears them? She would be the most prized postion if she were mine I have to say that top picture of her and that huge draft horse you would think it was a painting if you didn’t read it. I must say Thumbelina is the cutest horse I have ever seen and the smallest we are planing to win the lotto and get a stallion and mare Falla-Balla and breed them and I get to be responsible for them. If I had Thumbelina I would breed her her foal would be smaller then her so you would have to change the world record book. She is just so darn cute!!!

8 02 2007

Jessie, you might want to read the other comments more carefully. She’s not a toy.

9 02 2007

Adorable. She’d be brilliant as a guide for the blind. I read somewhere a little while ago that they’re now beginning to use miniature horses because they’re intelligent and live longer than dogs.

9 02 2007
16 02 2007

awwwww! she is so adoreable! i wish she lived with me in my apartment with my dog!!(LOL)

18 02 2007
alicia green

nice that is a cute horse we have 8 hoorses a applosa ,paint ,thrbead,2 quterhorse,4 amercanquterhorse names baby mindnight she pregnet bonzoe osal cody prissy speedy buster .

23 02 2007

Well, there are lots of opinions but in the end she is a live animal, and that is enough for me. we have shetlands and they are adorable as well. They are a small animal, and always have been.

25 02 2007

Siiiiiiiis käsittämättömän söpö pikku polle.

18 03 2007
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21 03 2007
art a

where can i get a photo of tumblina next to a regular/miniture horses? thanks, art

30 03 2007
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3 04 2007
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1 06 2007

wow, i have a vizsla dog that is that big.

4 06 2007
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22 06 2007
Bonnie Maples

My granddaughter was taken to see Thumbelina in Connecticut not long ago. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor over a year ago. Things like what you are doing is what gives these kids the fun in life they deserve. She love the experience of viewing Thumbelina Thank you. Bonnie

22 06 2007

My very best to you and your granddaughter, Bonnie. I’m glad this little horse put a smile on her face.

28 06 2007

OMG!!! It’s ssssssssooooo cute!! !

6 08 2007

Man i wish i had i mini horse 😦 oh well at least i have a big horse but u gotta admit that thumbelina i s the cutest thing i ever saw.

31 08 2007

wow thats one small horse but the top 1 in the cute list .i wish i had that horse how di he get so small? although i have to lovely horses at home i miss them alot right now i am in townsville they live down in bunderberg.

3 09 2007
Kelli Ann

that horse is so small it would fit in my shoes that is how small that horse is

4 11 2007
Eric Cumberworth

Thumbelina is one sweet horse. I can’t believe how small she is! Her tale is truly heartwarming. I made a post about her myself because I found the story so good. Praise be to the World’s Smallest Horse

24 11 2007

Does Thumbelina’s owners know about the coming threat to owning horses or any other livestock?
USDA wants to know the whereabouts of every livestock in America, regardless if it is a pet or food animal. See nonais dot org for more info on this program that will put more surveillance on livestock owners than on illegals, terrorists or sexual deviants. The reason is so corporate ag can have a global market.

4 12 2007
Robin Carriere

I think it is wonderful that her miniaturism has found her a realm of worthiness. That so many sick and debilitated children can have a moment of true glee, true happiness can’t do anything but just help them feel better. Happiness and smiling and laughter is the best medicine. A positive attitude has to be felt when you see thumbalina. I am glad her parents are pets now, because as said Breeding them further or her would pose problems. She is lucky she is so healthy, and everyone who meets her is luckier in their lives. kudos to thumbalina.

7 12 2007

This is sick, she is a horse for goodness sake.. where is her dignity, that man has her on his knee!!! She has had deformities bred into her, like many cat and dog breeds!!! It doesn’t make it ok that inbreeding has been done with other species!!! People should not be encouraging these deformed animals to be bred. If you want cute buy a teddy bear, it’s a horse for goodness sake.. an elegant, intelligent, beautiful creature, not a freak show!

7 12 2007
Jamie C

That poor horse, she is DEFORMED, not cute!!! If you want cute and cuddly get a friggin stuffed animal!!! That poor horse should be put down, she looks like she is in pain. And for those of you say “awww i wish i had a horse like her” do you know that this a deformity brought on that should NEVER be even be existent in the first place!!!!! but hey if you want a little deformed horse that resembles more of a hamster than anything else I can think of AND is so deformed it cannot walk, then hey go right ahead and breed your crappy minis.
Disgusting what your doing, parading that poor thing around like a puppy, where it should really be put down and finally happy!!!

26 05 2014

At least at the time of this article, it seems like Thumbelina still has a high quality of life in spite of her condition. Are you suggesting that any animal that doesn’t meet your standards of physical perfection should be put down, even if they’re healthy and happy?

Her owners have no plans to breed her, and they even saw to it that her parents were not bred again, since one or both of them are carriers for dwarfism.

Sometimes congenital deformities just happen, even in spite of responsible breeders’ best efforts. So long as that animal is prevented from passing along those defective genetics to future generations, there is nothing disgusting or immoral about it.

What IS disgusting is calling for healthy, happy animals to be put to death just because they exhibit physical imperfections. If and when Thumbelina’s condition reaches a point where it significantly impedes her quality of life, then of course the most humane course of action would be to have her euthanised, but putting her down when her condition is not currently debilitating doesn’t do anybody any good, least of all Thumbelina herself.

7 12 2007
Animal Breeding 101

This horse is deformed. It is a trait known as dwarfism and runs through some bloodlines of miniature horses. It is recessive so the horse must be homozygous recessive to exhibit full dwarfism. It does not always mean the horse is inbred. There are varying degrees from slightly mutated to so mutated the foal does not survive foaling. Thumbelina was a mistake; the owners breed, raise, and show miniature horses. When they found out Thumbelina had dwarfism they immediatly gelded the sire and have sold the mare to a home where she will not be bred. This is not something that should be bred for it is sick and often leads to death. It is good that Thumbelina’s owners are twisting this and using it for good, but I will repeat this as many times as I have to THIS SHOULD NOT BE BRED FOR AND IT IS NOT CUTE!

19 01 2008

Sono Daniela e amo i cavalli da quando sono nata. La mia mamma mi ha fatto vedere su internet Thumbelina e io sono impazzita per il bene che le voglio. Datele un bacio per me. Ciao a tutti

24 01 2008

This is sick, she is a horse for goodness sake.. where is her dignity, that man has her on his knee!!! She has had deformities bred into her, like many cat and dog breeds!!! It doesn’t make it ok that inbreeding has been done with other species!!! People should not be encouraging these deformed animals to be bred. If you want cute buy a teddy bear, it’s a horse for goodness sake.. an elegant, intelligent, beautiful creature, not a freak show!” I think your argument is just that Thumbelina fits the human idea of what a non-riding animal should be like rather than one a horse should be like. I see no more dignity in being broken, living in a stall, and getting out most often either to be exercised or ridden (with a metal bar shoved in your mouth, no less) than to be put on knees and shown off to kids. That’s not to say I’m opposed to riding horses, just that I question whether you’re really looking at this “dignity” concept from a too-human perspective.

Personally, I don’t think Thumbelina’s very cute — only by virtue of being small does she qualify. Since hte first picture I saw of her had no comparison for size, my first thought was just “deformed” rather than “cute”. But hey, lots of people do, and it’s a darn impressive size!

24 01 2008

(I misused the tags in that last comment, and everything before the ” is a quote of Nicola)

3 03 2008

so cute!!!

12 03 2008
wanda bradford

I think these people (not the breeder) but those who wrote in should notice that Thumblina was not intentionally bred to be a dwarf. And steps were taken to not breed another. Miniature horses can lead just as happy, healthy and long life as any other horse and be just as helpful. Can you imagine the wonder and delight of a ward of cancer patient children seeing a miniature horse for the first time and getting to pet it? Yes, there are possibly unethical breeding practices, just as you will find in dog and cat breeding, some people will corrupt anything. But these little horses can and do have a place in today’s society. If they are happy, healthy and well cared for what harm can there be in them contributing to the joy of others. I think they are adorable and if I won the lottery would probably start raising them myself. Should dwarf people be “put down” because they are different? Should they not be allowed to contribute to society because they are “different”? Should they not be allowed to live happy lives and pursue their dreams just because they are not as big as other people? In nature, it happens, and when it does we should cherish and love them, be they cat, dog, horse or man.

25 03 2008

Wow, i have a miniature horse but he looks like a giant compared to her lol, i would spoil that lil thing so bad! i already spoil my mini but goodness with a face that cute i wouldnt be able to resist!

11 04 2008
Janie Coffey

wow, what a super cutie. No doubt Thubelina gives and receives tons of love for everyone she comes in contact with. thank you for sharing!

23 05 2008
Kasey of the awesomeness

Thumbelina, even though shes so small nobody really knows wats going on in her mind! Perhaps she likes being coddled?! Go Thumbelina!!!! So, Holla at me Y’all!!! It’s Kasey P. Here! RSVP!!! Let me know wat you think of my blogs!!!

23 05 2008

Thumbelina is a “Dwarf Miniature” which is why she is so tiny, but she is a cutie and she apparently gets along well with the other horses! Her owner said on GMA that she is not intimidated by the other horses, large or small!

14 06 2008


29 07 2008


29 07 2008


23 10 2008

OMG she is so cute i love her i am her biggest fan i am willing to buy her from you if i had the money but i am a big horse fan my self i have been wanting a horse for a long time but my mom and dad are so weird they wont buy me one but they’l come around i know they will but i just love her she is so cute that its not even funny so if you ever wont to sell her i’ll be around.


30 11 2008
marlee l.

I LOVE OUR HORSE! how muchis it, if it was for sale? if it is is it$5.95? please right me back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Marlee l.

16 12 2008

I dont think I like breeding for minis…..too many sad cases. I dont see anything that can be considered cute about a dwarf. It is just sad. I could love one, I mean my elderly dog is blind and her tongue hangs out because her bottom jaw has disintegrated and I love her,…. but I couldn’t purposely breed animals likely to produce dwarfs. And I dont think a record of this type should go to a dwarf. Or maybe it should. Maybe if more people were aware of the problems, they wouldn’t be so anxious to finance the people breeding the minis. Dont get me wrong..I really loved Barbie-Q, a mini-mare I once owned and had to sell because I was going thru a hard time in my life.. I wish I had her back. I would buy her back if I could find her. But the more I think about this, the more wrong it seems. IF…BIG IF, I were to breed her, I would probably breed her to a Shetland or a tiny jack to get a pony for my grandchildren.
Smaller is not always better. I mean we are talking about horses! How about trying for a cat the size of a parakeet of something…now that would be cool! Just kidding.

Belinda in Southern Indiana

3 03 2009
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29 06 2009

wow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!that thing is tiny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

29 06 2009

GET A GRIP NICOLA THAT THING IS SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 12 2009
ella samuels

it is THE cutest thing i have ever seen!!!!!!

5 12 2009

it is sooo cute i want one

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27 06 2012
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