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One Tank Trip: Land Of Little Horses

By Karin Mallett, Anchor / Reporter, KMallett@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 17 2011 09:55:38 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 19 2010 09:22:36 AM CDT
GETTYSBURG, Pa. -

Most folks associate Gettysburg with the battle, but there's a park off the beaten path that's been fascinating tourists for decades with its tiny entertainers.

They stand only a few hands tall and seem to be at home here.

"Most of them are born into this environment, so most of them are used to the people being around and we like this nice relaxing atmosphere," said Dawne Smith. "It's good for the animals and good for the people, too."

Dawne said the Land of Little Horses in Gettysburg is good for the soul.

The 100 acre farm park comes from humble beginnings.

Almost 40 years ago, two Merchant Marines spotted mini horses in Buenos Aires, Argentina and decided to bring a few home.

"Because it was in the early 70s, there really wasn't a whole lot of miniature horses in the United States," said Dawne.

She said it was the first equine park in the U.S. and used to be called the Gettysburg Miniature Horse Farm, with a barn built back in 1880. Land of Little Horses sounded a bit more magical.

"I think horses is something that every little girl dreams about," said Dawne.

Daisy is one of the farm's first residents. She's probably around 40-years-old. They didn't keep records at the time, but that's what they can estimate.

She is losing her eyesight, so she wears a fly mask just to protect her eyes. But she's just as friendly as ever and kind of roams around the park just like one of the tourists..

"And they're all very gentle," said Dawne. "They are still animals, so we always tell everybody you need to respect that."

A short walk from the barns and main arena where the horses perform daily shows is the town of Horseshoe, a mini western land of make believe complete with a sheriff's stop and holding cell.

There are pony rides, but the minis are still the main draw and the reason people stop by.