Alberta couple's love of miniature horses turns into unique business
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013 3:45PM MST Last Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013 6:29PM MST
This is a big story about some small horses.
A couple who live north of Edmonton began rescuing and rehabilitating miniature horses three years ago and now have a unique business based around the animals.
Not only that, but Patty Kramps of Patty’s Pony Place, says the small horses – with big hearts – have changed her life.
“That would be an understatement,” she said.
“They’re just pure. What you see is what you get.”
Kramps bought miniature horse Gimley on a whim at an auction in 2009.
“He had the most bright, beautiful eyes, and I just threw up my hand and the next thing you know, sold,” Kramps said.
Since Gimley, Kramps and her husband Kelly Miller have taken in 17 more miniature horses.
Kramps admits she became a bit addicted.
“One is never enough, they’re like potato chips, you can’t have just one,” she said with a laugh. “How I always put it is, we just got out of control.”
Some of the ponies were bought off online ads, others were dropped off at the couple’s acreage near Legal.
Nursed back to health
Almost all 18 of the horses needed help in some way – they were either struggling to walk, too skinny, had lice, and one horse came to Kramps blind in one eye.
Over the last three years, Kramps and Miller have worked with each pony, nursing them back to health. It took a year before Gimley could gallop – but now all 18 horses can run, pull carts and even take the couple for rides – on skis.
“I put my downhill skis on, tie myself behind that pony and hope I don’t fall down,” Miller explained.
They call it pony skijoring and say it’s quite the ride.
“If you get a pony in front of you, it’s always downhill,” Miller said.
The couple started making custom carts for the ponies last year – something of a change from their previous gig of making custom caskets.
“These are much more fun,” Kramps said, laughing.
A little horse business
The couple hopes their custom carts become a hit in western Canada.
They also have big plans for their miniature horses.
They’re looking into doing scurry races, and may look into building an indoor arena to hold clinics and lessons for people to do activities with the ponies.
“There’s a potential for people to do stuff with mini horses that they don’t even know is there,” Miller said.
For Kramps, every day is a joy.
“That grin is hardly ever off this face,” she said.
She’s says she’s happy she went out on a whim and bought Gimley – and happy the couple took in 17 more.
“I’m not 110 per cent sure where some of them might have ended up, but I know they’re happy they ended up here,” she said.
As for whether 18 is a big enough herd for Kramps?
“Fortunately we only have 10 acres,” Miller said with a laugh.
“I am really glad for that. If we had 1,000 acres, we might have 500 ponies.”
With files from Graham Neil