Share This Page

Family surprised by birth of miniature horse at Plumcreek farm

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 1:56 a.m.
Five day old miniature horse Gingersnap takes her first walk along with mother Ginger and Robert Shilling at the farm in Plumcreek. JAN PAKLER I FOR THE LEADER TIMES

PLUMCREEK — When Linda Shilling glanced in one of the barn stalls at the Kimmel Shadyside Farm on Sunday morning to check on the miniature horse Ginger, she was shocked to see eight legs instead of four.

During the night, the mare had given birth to a tiny filly, Gingersnap.

Gingersnap — Snappy for short — weighs just 20 pounds and is a little more than 20 inches tall.

Snappy might be tiny, but she's got a big personality.

On Thursday, at just 5 days old, she was allowed outside of her fenced-in enclosure for the first time.

And she lived up to her name by kicking up her heels, racing around and showing off her high-pitched whinny.

That's according to Shilling's daughter, Dixie Kimmel, who owns and operates the farm along with her husband, Joshua.

Their 8-year-old son, Clark, helps take care of the half dozen miniature donkeys and, at the current tally, seven miniature horses.

“They're just fun pets,” said Dixie. “They follow you around and love to get attention — just like dogs.”

She laughed while talking about Snappy's lively nature and joked that the mini pet could have a future as a race horse.

“My grandfather used to raise race horses here,” said Dixie. “Maybe it's in the water.”

She said the animals are very trainable.

“One stallion shuts his own gate as if to say, ‘I'm in for the night,'” said Dixie.

The Kimmels had been visiting relatives in Virginia, when Snappy joined the lilliputian herd.

“It was a big surprise,” said Dixie, adding that it's difficult to tell when the mares are pregnant.

The Kimmels have been raising miniatures for 13 years, and Snappy is the fifth foal to be born on the farm.

“When Mom found her, she was so excited,” she said.

And so was Dixie's dad, Robert Shilling, who helps look after the miniature livestock.

“Mom said she has never seen him that excited,” said Dixie. “Dad has never been there for a baby.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.