Meet the herd...
The first miniature horse purchased to start the Mini Joys outreach was given the name of Levi. He was only 6 months old, had been handled since birth and already shown at the county fair. This gave Levi a great start for therapy work. Levi seemed to be a natural at filling his new role.
Being loved on by the young and old, and everyone in between, suited his personality perfectly. Levi appeared to understand the mission of spreading joy and hope, and he brought smiles to everyone he met. He was the perfect horse to start Mini Joys, and because of his amazing gentleness and loving nature, this outreach was off to a super start. Levi made it very easy to want to purchase more miniature horses and watch them work their magic!
--- Levi ---
The second horse to join Mini Joys was Spunky. He was purchased at about 2 years of age, and he had not been handled at all. He had multiple homes and lacked trust in people. Many objects scared him also. We were unsure if he would be able to overcome all of his insecurities and become a therapy horse, but we did want to rescue him. We knew that we could find him a good home with a family if it would be too difficult for him to become a therapy horse.
He has learned so much and has gained the ability to trust. Certain things can still scare him, (as is natural with horses) but he loves attention from kids. He is totally comfortable with large groups of people at the ranch, and does some travel programs too, but we do not expect Spunky to go to new environments that are too loud or too crowded.
Spunky is a beautiful sorrel and white Pinto with gorgeous blue eyes!
--- Spunky ---
Sophie was the third mini to join the crew. We met her when she was less than 2 weeks old out in Emmett. She was so friendly! We went back to visit her a few weeks later, and when the Mini Joys director knelt down in the pasture, the tiny filly gently started to climb in her lap. That‘s when they knew she had to be the next Mini Joys horse. She was weaned and came to her new home at the Mini Ranch at just four months of age.
Sophie has been the very easiest to train as she is extremely calm and easy going. Her small size is perfect for tight spaces, elevators, working with very young children or those in a wheelchair, and for making bedside visits at Senior Homes.
--- Sophie ---
Hope joined the crew early in 2012, and is the only donkey. She is a Mediterranean Miniature Donkey. Hope came to the Mini Ranch as soon as she could be weaned from her mom around four months of age. She was purchased to be part of a lesson on being happy with being YOU; learning to celebrate your strengths and discovering your unique purpose. She hasn’t let being on the cover of the Wonderfully Made; The Story of Hope book give her a big head, but it has possibly increased the size of her ears!
She can be very loving, but is also very strong-willed and often stubborn. Hope is the only “moody” mini in the herd, but that provides a great learning opportunity for older children or teens. As with working with horses, one must learn that important balance of being kind and gentle to gain their trust, but also needing to be firm and confident enough to be "in charge". A horse does want you to be their leader. That helps them feel safe.
--- Hope ---
Wrangler joined the herd in the summer of 2015. He was purchased in hopes that he would become a wonderful horse to join Levi and Sophie on the “Travel Team” (Spunky and Hope are better suited for guests at the ranch, or traveling to quieter venues). This little colt was picked out at a young age for his very mellow and friendly nature. We visited him often before he was old enough to leave his mom and got him comfortable with being handled. He continues to amaze the Mini Joys volunteers and program guests because he is so calm this early in his training.
Wrangler absolutely loves attention and he makes barn chores take twice as long as he is always "begging" for another hug or pet. He is so tiny, cute, and irresistible...it's worth the extra time!
--- Wrangler ---
While looking to purchase our last mini, we fell in love with a tiny little miniature goat who also lived in Emmett on Wrangler's farm. We decided that she would make a super addition to the mini crew.
Sky arrived at the ranch in July of 2015 and has stolen many hearts. Although a little skittish at first, she has grown to love attention from all ages. Children and adults alike have enjoyed petting and brushing her and when you sit down on a bench in the corrals she jumps right up and is happy to sit in your lap. She has been a huge hit with all those we serve and she loves playing with the rest of the mini herd. Who knows...maybe she just thinks she's a horse!
--- Sky ---
Sky needed another goat friend, so we brought home Nellie! She was gifted to the Mini Ranch by a sweet family who volunteers with our crew. They owned five goats and thought that Sky could really use a friend. They offered us their sweetest goat because she would be such a great fit with our mission of bringing joy. Nellie absolutely loves attention, and acts like a lovable puppy dog when you scratch her behind her ears. We are so happy she has joined the herd!
In the summer of 2021, Mini Joys was asked if we would like to adopt a sweet little miniature horse named Lulu. Dreamhaven Ranch, an Eagle nonprofit organization, was relocating to Baker, Oregon and needed to downsize their herd. Our director went to meet this sweet little black and white Pinto, and just had to say "yes"! Although it took a little time for her to adjust to her new family, Lulu is now doing wonderfully, and has enjoyed all the attention she is getting!
When you add 50 BIG-HEARTED Volunteers to this sweet little herd, you now have the wonderful Mini Joys Crew!
For information on joining this team and bringing JOY and HOPE to those who are struggling in our community, please contact us!
Mini Horses Helping to Heal Many Hearts!