Imagine a foal so small he could fit into your car’s backseat. Microdave, an American miniature horse, stood at a teensy 14″ when he was born two weeks premature on June 11. A month later, the minuscule foal has grown a few inches to reach the grand total of 18″. That’s just one inch more than the Guinness World record holder, Thumbelina, who is affected by dwarfism, and two inches smaller than Einstein, who is thought to be the smallest non-dwarf stallion — so Microdave quickly became known as Britain’s smallest foal.
“He is not the smallest foal in the world and I doubt he’s even the smallest in Britain but he’s definitely the cutest,” says owner Jen Baldwyn Murphy of Haysden Liveries in Tonbridge, Kent.
He is also one of the most famous. Microdave’s pocket size, unusual markings and clear blue eyes have instantly turned him into a worldwide celebrity. Both his dam, Looking Glass Rustys Red Ribbon (Barbie),a four-year-old Palomino part-bred American miniature horse, and his sire, Haysden Sambertiddly (Little Dave), a four-year-old, part-bred American miniature horse that Baldwyn Murphy originally bought for her husband, who is also called Dave, are beautiful, but the foal is really something special.
“He is stunning. The mare has got blue eyes and so does he — I’d hate it in a bigger horse, but it’s beautiful in a smaller one, especially a smoky piebald like Microdave,” Baldwyn Murphy enthuses.
The tiny colt’s rise to equestrian superstardom began when a professional photographer, Helen Rigby, captured his good looks on camera. She had originally come to take pictures of Baldwyn Murphy’s bigger horses but volunteered to return when the foal was born. She took several beautiful shots of him and, on impulse, Baldwyn Murphy sent one to Horse & Hound magazine.
“From there, it’s been madness, really,” she laughs. “We have had the BBC, ITV—he has been on Good Morning Britain.”
A cheeky foal who, like many young children, likes to gallop around as much as he dislikes going to bed, Microdave has taken to fame very well, according to Baldwyn Murphy. “He has adapted to it very easily. He goes to everybody—he is awfully cute.” Unsurprisingly, he is especially popular with children: “They can have a bit of a cuddle but he’d like to chase them around, and I have to put a stop to it.”
Baldwin Murphy had initially thought of selling the foal, but she quickly fell in love with him and revised her plans. Instead, Microdave can look forward to a thriving showing career in the future. “I’m hoping he’ll do very well in the show ring,” she says. “He’s going to do one show as a foal in August, then I’ll show him as a yearling next year.”
Images: Helen Rigby Photography