Part of the family

Monique Chiasson
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Miniature horses loved by their owners

UPPER BROOKSIDE - Bernie Hodgson remembers the birth of Brandy like it was yesterday.
"I couldn't watch it. I was waiting on the phone outside," the North River resident laughed.
"I was a typical expectant father ... I couldn't wait to see the baby."
Baby foal, that is. Hodgson has always loved horses and miniature horses are no exception.
Brandy is the miniature horse he fondly remembers waiting to meet seven years ago and making that instant connection has resulted in a close bond, just like a father and child.
"I sat down in the barn and she would back up to me and want to be picked up ... she's done that ever since she was born," Hodgson said. "If I do carpenter work or mow the lawn Brandy's right there. If I drop a hammer, she'll pick it up."
Hodgson shared such memories during the fourth annual miniature horse show at the Ron Wallace Farm in Upper Brookside Saturday. The event was presented by the Miniature Horse Association of Nova Scotia, of which Hodgson is a member.
He said although miniature horses are very lovable, they should be treated like other "regular" sized horses.
"A lot of people think they are toys but they need respect because they are still a horse and people can still get hurt. They have a lot of power."
Hodgson said miniature horses are "every bit as much work as big horses" but there are benefits to the smaller breed.
"They are good for people who are getting older and may not have as much room to keep a horse. They are cheaper to feed ... $150 feed a year (compared to) $600 or 700" for a big horse, Hodgson said.
"It costs more to feed my cat for a year."
Kim Wallace was on her family's farm Saturday to participate in the show, which included line, driving and obstacle course competitions.
Wallace was one of about 30 participants from Colchester County, Antigonish, Oxford, Valley and Prince Edward Island.
"He's like one of the kids," she said about her miniature horse.
"He's been in the house, crawled up on my lap when he was smaller and has ridden in the front seat of the mini van," said Wallace.
She said the smaller breed is more inviting and "less intimidating."
She added miniature horses interact well with children. Nine-year-old Emma Somers of Truro agrees.
"I find them cuter than big horses because they are so small and gentle," she said in between competitions Saturday as one of the miniatures gobbled grass from her hand.
"I'm watching today because I want to see what they are judged on and how they move. I'd like to own one someday."
The weekend horse show was the second competition held at the Wallace farm.

Organizations: Ron Wallace Farm, Miniature Horse Association of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: UPPER BROOKSIDE - Bernie Hodgson, North River, Colchester County Antigonish Oxford Prince Edward Island

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