MEET Scotland’s smallest horse who is shorter than a one-year-old child.
The one-year-old European miniature, called Vita, is just 25 inches tall and weighs only 75lbs – the same as a Shetland sheep.
The diminutive horse lives in Reston, in the Scottish borders and at 20-months-old is fully grown.
Standing at two inches smaller than the average one-year-old child, the ultra-refined miniature lives in a custom built stable with her three-year-old stable mate, Merlin.
Vita gets on very well with her stable-mate Merlin.
Vita was bought by Swiss-born Oli Hoffer and his partner Leya, in August last year and now lives in a tiny stable beside the couple’s coffee shop at Reston, in the Scottish borders.
Her specially-built stable comes complete with miniature stable doors, miniature troughs and sized-down buckets for feeding. She works alongside Merlin, a pure white fellow European miniature horse, at charity events and pony parties.
Miniature horses, which can fetch up to £2000 when sold, are so good natured that they can be house trained and are often kept as family pets.
They often live longer on average than some full-sized horses, with the average life span of miniatures from 25 to 35 years.
Owner Oli Hoffer described his prize pet Vita as a “loveable”. A former Swiss banker, he said his horses had a very gentle nature.
He said: “I like miniature things and it’s important to have some magic. Merlin and Vita are very loveable. They have a very gentle nature and Vita in particular is absolutely bombproof.”
Oli’s partner, Leya, who has kept horses her whole life, said miniature horses were a good alternative to the cost of keeping a fully grown version.
She said: “Vita just has the sweetest nature and it is really similar to having a pet dog. I have always kept horses but miniature horses are great as they do not need a vast amount land and the same amount of work as larger horses.”
Helena Mauchlen, development officer for the British Horse Society in Scotland said: “Miniature horses are very popular and they are very nice, they can be as small as lambs in some cases. Some people do keep them as household pets, but it is important to remember they have very different needs to other pets, such as dogs.”