August Featured Rescue: Pipsqueak Paddocks Miniature Horse Haven Society

Each month, HN partners with to shine the spotlight on a deserving horse rescue. Introducing: Pipsqueak Paddocks.


You may have noticed a lapse in Snarky Rider’s featured rescues… but it’s coming back with a bang this month!  I’d like to introduce Pipsqueak Paddocks from Chilliwack, BC, Canada!

First, some history on Pipsqueak Paddocks!  How did you get started? How long have you been rescuing minis? Why minis specifically?

To make a long story short… My parents always said that if they ever got land, I could have a pony.  Little did they know that when they bought their little acreage, and I was already an adult on my own, they would still end up honouring that promise.  LOL

The property came with a goat.  The goat needed a friend.  So, I got my pony.  Soon though, we got the goat some goat friends and the pony needed a pal of her own.  I had heard about a Mini who needed out of a bad situation, so we went and picked her up.  Glee was utterly emaciated and in terrible condition.

My mother, who had never been into big horses, fell in love with Glee.  She claimed her as her own and we got another Mini out of a bad situation for her birthday present that summer.  It just kind of snowballed from there.  We privately rescued a couple dozen Minis over the next few years, my mother called it her “hobby”.  Then, more and more people wanted to help out.  We did not feel comfortable accepting donations personally, so we decided to go official.  My mother has an accounting background and the property.  I had the horse experience, as well as the skills to manage the website, social media, volunteers, fundraising and other operational aspects of running a rescue.  We became a BC Society and a registered Canadian Charity just over three years ago.  Pipsqueak Paddocks Miniature Horse Haven Society took in 24 Minis our first year and 45 the next.  We’ve been growing every year and have taken in over 120 Minis to date.  I live just down the street with my own family, but spend the better part of every day here with the Minis, or in the office, managing Pipsqueak Paddocks and doing what we do.

What is your favorite rescue story to date?

With so many Minis having come through already, it is really hard to pick a favourite story.  One recent story we have is bittersweet, but worth telling.  Magpie and Meadowlark arrived here last December.  It was supposed to be a standard surrender, but turned into so much more.  We went to pick them up, and it was a shocking situation.  They were housed at the bottom of a gully where the sunshine never quite reached.  There was garbage everywhere, all churned in with manure and frozen mud.  Both of the girls were lame, severely so, but they hoofed it up that steep, slippery slope and jumped right into our trailer.  When we arrived back at the Paddocks and took a good look at them, we were horrified.  Meadowlark had one hind leg dangling from the hip.  Her front feet were so foundered that our farrier could not even attempt to trim them.  Both she and our vet agreed that there was nothing we could do but end her suffering.

Magpie had stepped through a plastic feed tub and her hind legs had been slashed.  Her legs had gone virtually untreated for weeks and there was a frozen shell of mud, sand and puss encasing them.  The vet was examining her and ended up basically peeling the hide off.  She had exposed muscle, tendons and bone.  She had come to us in the nick of time as she was very close to losing her legs and her life.  With the decision made to put Meadowlark down, we were determined to give Magpie a fighting chance if the vet thought she could overcome these injuries.  The choice was made and we went ahead with her rehabilitation.  Our supporters were phenomenal as my mother and I spent months changing bandages and tending to those wounds.  Magpie was amazing through it all and she is now running around, loving life in her new home.

Magpie and Meadowlark:

Magpie’s Story, with a happy ending:

If I remember correctly, a while back you had a video on your Facebook page of a mini playing with a coffee cup? What’s their favorite beverage? ;)

LOL… I tried to match their coat colours with a coffee beverage for the video, but they were actually drinking molasses flavoured water.  I think they’d try anything once!

Where do most of your rescues come from?  Surrenders? Abuse cases?  Are minis pretty much safe from the auctions/kill buyers? their size making them less of a target?

We are a rehabilitation and rehoming centre, so we do get a lot of surrenders.  However, most of the Minis need rehabilitation to some degree when the arrive.  Most of what we deal with is neglect through ignorance.  Many non-horsey people get Miniatures because they are not intimidating and considered a novelty, hobby-farm type of pet.  Unfortunately, these people have no idea what is involved in caring for horses.  On the flip side though, many horse savvy people treat Minis like second-class citizens.  ”Oh, it’s JUST the Mini… he doesn’t need his feet done every time, or his teeth checked… or to be gelded.”  We have gelded exactly 50 Miniature Horse stallions so far.  These are the Minis who get bumped from home to home the most, with nobody fixing the problems along the way.

We are also an SPCA approved facility, and they sign Minis over to us for rehab and rehoming.  Of course this is where we see the results of actual abuse and most of the worst neglect.  The rest of the bad cases usually do come from the auction.  Though they may not be in danger from the kill buyers, they are definitely in peril at the auction.  Many times, someone will purchase a Mini on a whim for $50 or $100.  They will not then spend the hundreds of dollars to have it’s teeth done, shots, worming, farrier and gelding if needed.  The novelty will wear off, and the Mini will end up back at auction or passed around from bad home to worse as people tire of it.

For people that aren’t used to minis, what kind of, if any, special care do they require that differs from non-mini horses?

Miniature Horses are just that – horses in miniature.  They have exactly the same needs as a large horse and require all of the same care… just in proportion.  We call them “quarter horses”… everything is about 25%.  Of course… they are addicting and you’ll end up with four of them anyway, so it’s the same difference as having one big one!  LOL.

Seriously though, they need their feet done the same, worming and vaccinations.  Yearly dental checks are a MUST with Minis.  They also need GOOD nutrition.  Folks sometimes make the mistake of feeding them cheap hay and think the Mini is getting fat when in actual fact, they have a big belly from malnutrition.

Our video on Miniature Horse care:

And for the traditional crazy question: If the minis had to vote for one, which do you think they’d choose as the better dance? Michael Jackson doing Thriller or the Lonely Island doing The Creep?

As for the traditional crazy question… it’s Thriller all the way baby!

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