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Smidget cover

The Smallest Horse in the World

by Donald Wigal

©1985 Ron Boeger

“During his travels, he often saw exhibits that claimed to feature the world’s smallest horses. But the people were disappointed because the animals were usually larger than they expected...
That’s when his search began.”

From the title, you may suspect that this is a book about a horse. And so it is: a 21-inch high, 80-pound mare named Smidget, to be exact. She travels the USA performing tricks. Or at least she used to. She’s probably dead now.

But this book strives to be about so much more than just a horse.

You see, almond farmer Ron Boeger had a dream: to find the world’s smallest horse, buy it, and appear with it on The Merv Griffin Show. Through much hard work and dedication, his dream came true.

The whole book’s littered with supposedly inspirational quotes from Ron. About the Merv Griffin experience, for instance, he says, “When something like this happens, you realize you can open doors and achieve your goals when you believe in what you’re doing.”

Sure, Ron, that’s all fine and good. But we really came here for the freakshow. We want to see the little freak horse with a fake saddle and a Cabbage Patch doll on her back!

Now that’s more like it!!

Actually, the book’s chock full of photos that emphasize Smidget’s unusual stature. She’s shown posing with, among other things; a normal-sized horse, a duck, a silver dollar, and Wilt Chamberlain.

Here are some choice quotes for you:

“Hay, a food that horses eat regularly, was not suitable for Smidget because her digestive system is so small. 'It would be like feeding tree limbs to a regular-size horse,' explains Ron... Smidget eats two handfuls of food pellets a day. The mixture looks something like granola...”

“Smidget often travels in a 32-foot-long limousine with her own whirlpool bathtub for relaxing after performances. An even fancier limousine is being planned that will be pinto-colored, as she is, and will have a horn that whinnies!”

“Among (Smidget’s fans) are Michael Jackson, John 'Bo Duke' Schneider, Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler, Cathy Lee Crosby, and Kris Kristofferson.”

Sigh. Where are they now?

UPDATE: Alexis G. of Lancaster, CA, wrote in with these personal reminiscences of Smidget:

I found your site when, out of idle curiosity, I Googled "Smidget"... I used to travel with this horse as her "trainer" in the summer of 1984. I was nineteen and had been working at county fairs in California and Arizona with a food vendor, and met the owners of this horse and started dating one of their employees. When my current job ended, they offered me a position taking care of Smidget and I traveled with them for several months, learning her tricks and making appearances with her, keeping her company and exercising her twice a day.

She was a truly special creature, extraordinarily intelligent, with a sweet nature. I felt badly that they used her for financial gain, but she was treated well and never seemed unhappy except when the crowds that used to pay $1.00 to see her in her special trailer at the fairs would want to pet her too much, in which case I would step in and protect her.

The dating relationship ended badly and I ended the working relationship shortly after that, but it's always been fun to be able to say that I was once the trainer of the "World's Smallest Horse"... When I've been to fairs since then, the "Smallest Horse" exhibits never have compared to my sweet little Smidget.

Last summer I was at our local fair and ran into the family that owned Smidget; they also had a pony ride that they took to fairs in addition to Smidget, and the boys who were kids when I worked for the family were running the pony ride and vaguely remembered me. Sadly, they told me that Smidget died in 1990.

Thanks helping us know Smidget a little better, Alexis.

And Smidget, rest in peace. May you be hot-tubbing in that great pinto-painted limo in the sky right now.

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