There’s something about miniature animals. Maybe it’s their compact size, or maybe it’s their explosive and playful personalities, but it’s virtually impossible not to burst into a smile when you see a grown person flying down the streets of Calgary in a small wagon with a miniature horse leading the way.

ZC15-36-3580

If you’re one of the many Stampede goers whose hearts get captured by these mini animals, take a moment to read up on where and when to find your favourite little animals this year–including how to get a picture in the miniature horse photo booth!. Also: read on for some fun facts about these adorable animals!

Where & when to find miniature donkeys

Have you ever had the chance to see a mini donkey demo? Today, Sunday, July 10 (12:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.) and Monday, July 11 (12:30 p.m.) in the Northern Lights Arena, mini donkeys will be showing off their massive skills through a variety of trail courses that include bridges, pylons, jumps and ropes.

Visitors can look forward to a diverse group of mini donkeys from three different farms. Windy P’ass’tures from the Medicine Hat area have brought along four yearling girls, L’Lass Miniature Donkeys from the Balzac area have brought four donkeys of various ages, and Double M Farm from the Langdon area have brought two younger geldings, as well as mom Circle C Raspberry Swirl and her unnamed foal.

Demonstrations will be taking place both outside the Agriculture Building as well as inside in the Northern Lights Arena. Following the demonstrations, visitors will be given the chance to meet, and even pet, the stars of the show.

Where & when to find miniature horses

From Tuesday, July 12 to Thursday, July 14 bring the family to watch the 2016 Canadian National Miniature Horse Show. Located in the Northern Lights Arena and the Agrium Western Event Centre, miniature horses will be competing in hunter/jumper, obstacle, halter, in-hand jumping, roadster, pleasure driving, and other fan favourite events.

CR15-36-5210

BMO Kids’ Day: Wednesday, July 13

If the miniature horses are your personal favourite, mark Wednesday, July 13 in your calendar. Not only will there be many youth-friendly miniature horse classes to entertain the whole family – including a costume class – there will also be a mini horse musical chairs event and other fun surprises.

ZC15-36-4879

Also noteworthy is the new mini horse photobooth. Stop by Alley 1 in the Agriculture Barns anytime from July 12 to 14 and capture a moment in time from Stampede 2016.

Fun facts about minis

In case the minis weren’t already your favourite part of the Calgary Stampede, take a moment to read some fun facts that make these quirky animals so lovable.

  • Mini donkeys – also known as Sardinian donkeys – are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean areas of Sicily and Sardinia.
  • Mini donkeys are measured at 36” or shorter.
  • Miniature horses and ponies are not the same. Ponies tend to be larger and can reach heights of 58”, they are also stocky with thick necks, big bellies and short legs. Mini horses are just that, miniature horses; they should look like their larger counterparts, but smaller.
  • Miniature horses stand no taller than 34” at the base of their mane; foals can stand between 16-21”.
  • Mini horses have also been known as the “horse for everyone” as they are a great animals for adults, children and their calm demeanor also make them suitable therapy animals.
  • Minis are prone to overeating and need to be monitored when grazing.
  • The average weight for mini donkeys is 200-300 pounds; the average weight for mini horses is 150-250 pounds.
  • As herd animals, mini donkeys like having companions. If another donkey is not available, they have been known to befriend other animals including ponies, lamas, goats, cows and dogs.
  • While the miniature horse breed is said to have originated by European royalty, their small stature and powerful pulling ability lead them to be the primary work animals for coal miners in England, Holland and later in the United States.

It doesn’t take long for the minis to not only steal the show, but steal your heart. Come support these little champions and watch as the mini donkeys showcase their skills from until Monday, July 11 and the mini horses compete from Tuesday, July 12 to Thursday, July 14.