Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is this the world's smallest horse? Tiny foal Bella stands just 21 inches tall and weighs 56 pounds

Cute: Miniature horse Bella sits on her owner Alison Smith's knee at her rescue centre in North Dakota

She might weigh the same as a bag of groceries, but what Bella lacks in height she makes up for with cuteness.

For the tiny foal, who at 21 inches tall and 56 pounds, may just be the world's smallest horse.

Aged just six months old, Bella Contessa is no taller than a normal sized pumpkin and has to use a special ramp to eat from her manger.

Cute factor: Bella, the miniature foal, could be the world's smallest horse at just 21 inches tall

Currently staying with Alison Smith, the founder of Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue in Mandan, North Dakota, Bella spends her days in her own paddock with best friend and fellow miniature horse Lilly.

Part of the miniature horse family, Bella was born 15 inches tall and weighed an incredible nine pounds - around the same weight as an average baby.
The typical miniature foal is born anywhere between 18-22 inches tall depending on the horses sex and weighs up to 22 pounds.

'As a horse, Bella has perfect conformation and is not as commonly thought a dwarf horse,' said Alison, who has cared for Bella for the best part of a month.
'All the vets we work with a Triple H have told us that she is the smallest horse they have ever seen with perfect form, with no dwarf characteristics, no health issues and is just a tiny horse.

'She is a cute and beautiful fluke.'

Standing in Bella's way for the title of worlds smallest horse is another miniature horse from New Hampshire, Einstein.

Born the month before Bella and weighing just six pounds and standing 14 inches high after his birth, Alison expects the competition with Einstein to be totally good-natured.

'Guinness have told us that they don't differentiate at the moment between miniature horses or miniature horses with dwarf characteristics,' explained Alison, 48.

'We have heard that Einstein has definitely grown and that given that he is a month older than Bella makes us think that she is definitely in the running.'

Small but perfectly formed: Bella grooms herself next to a slightly larger horse

Feeding time: Bella uses a ramp to reach her food bucket as she shares a meal with her miniature friend Lilly

Officially, Guinness recognises the smallest horse in the world as Thumbelina, a 17.5-inch miniature brown sorrel mare who has held the title since July 2006.
However, she is classed as a dwarf miniature horse.

'We are hoping that Guinness separate between dwarf miniature horses and miniature horses born with perfect conformation," said Alison.

'I mean, before the year is out, both horses will have done up to 90 percent of their growth and then that will be a good time to see who is going to claim the title.

'But in the meantime, Bella is happy playing with Lilly and our two goats that roam the property here at the Triple H.

'She has such a pleasant disposition and this Christmas she is going work for the Salvation Army helping with their collections for the poor and needy.
'The children are going to love her.'

source: dailymail

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