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The Farm of Mini Ponies
Águas da Prata, SP, Brasil








This is the story of miniature horses bred in Águas da Prata in the state of São Paulo in Brasil. We first saw them in the July 3, 2006 parade celebrating Águas da Prata's birthday.



Judy Kennedy chats with Sr. José the owner of Sítio Cachoeirinha, located on the outskirts of Águas da Prata in the state of São Paulo in Brasil.

Sítio Cachoeirinha is located in a beautiful valley in the Mantiqueira Range at an elevation of 1200 meters. The vistas here are magnificent.

Mini Pony History and Facts:
The earliest history of miniature horses was in the 1650 A.D. records at the Palace at Versailles where King Louis XIV (The Sun King) kept a vast Zoo, replete with unusual animals, including tiny horses. In the mid 20th Century, many distinct small horse breeds emerged including the Miniature Shetland Pony, the Miniature Toy Horse and the Midget Pony. These breeds formed this historical foundation for the Miniature Horse breed.

From USA Miniature Horse: http://www.mini-horse.org/mini_horse_history.html



All miniature pony breeds can be traced back to Shetland pony origins, crossed with a variety of other pony breeds. The Australian Miniature Pony was developed mainly from the Shetland pony, the Argentinean Falabella and the American Miniature Horse.

The Australian Miniature Pony became a recognised breed in 1974. Miniature ponies are no more than 87cm (34") in height. They can be any colour.

From Creature Features - Pet Facts: Mini Ponies

http://www.abc.net.au/creaturefeatures/facts/miniponies.htm


******


Sítio Cachoeirinha has a herd of Mini Ponies, most of which originated in Argentina.





From all over the sítio you get a fabulous view of the valley.




The main farm house of the sítio sits among palm trees.




The sítio has a large corral off the entrance road where the ponies are exercised and shown to visiting guests.





There are small stables and work shops along the entrance road.




You often see chickens along the road.




>There are other sítios on the hillsides around Sítio Cachoeirinha.




The surroundings are perfect locations for artists to paint rural Brasil.





Despite the fact it is winter here the Bird of Paradise still has some blooms.




The view from the verandah of the main farm house is magnificent.




It is a great place to sit in the morning sipping Brasilian coffee.




A handler rides up in a cart pulled by a two year old Mini Pony.




Judy meets the Mini Pony.




Sr. José's son. and the handler show us another Mini Pony.




Here is an excellent pose of the Mini Pony.




The herd of Mini Ponies is grazing off to the side. The handlers try to bring them up to the barn area so we can get a close look at them.




They won't come easily so a sweet girl is used to get them boys to come to the barn.




That did it. Here they come.




All of them come running.




They can't find her so they just stand around waiting.




Next they wander off to stay under some trees.




The handlers get impatient and start to call them. Hey! Hey! The result is a stampede.




They come galluping at full speed. What a sight!




They get inside the corral and discover food. It is time for lunch.




They look around to see what is happening.




A good drink of water is refreshing!




Now it is time to show the beauties. They have been shaved, trimmed and groomed for show.




Father and son. The Mini Ponies of course!!!




The cart joins them.




Judy and Sr. José watch from the corral.




Meanwhile the herd has lunch. Notice the winter coats on these ones. They will get shaved and groomed for showing.




Rest time in the corral.




They wander about the corral waiting for us to take their pictures.




We oblige them by taking many pictures.




You can see the coarse winter coat here.




There is a small herd of sheep on the farm.




This little fellow is just 6 days old.




Even sheep must have lunch. Notice these sheep have very little hair. They come from the north of Brasil in the hot tropics and are bred for meat, (lamb) not for wool.




This guy was curious and kept his eyes on the photographer.




A real cute brown sheep.




The rest of the sheep were out in the corral.




Later they went outside to get some sun.




Look at this gorgeous chicken! She is all feathers down to her toes!




It is time for us to leave . This one gets up on a pole to say goodbye!




The way back to town is a good country road.




The Mini Ponies were made famous in the 1950's when celebrities began to collect them as pets. They are all over the world now.



We said goodbye to the Sítio Cachoeirinha and we will return soon.


Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE

Three Months Later



On Oct 2, three months after our first visit to the Farm of the Mini Ponies we returned with our daughter Lucia Leoni, and her friend Paulo Prado, both Vets in Curitiba, PR, Brasil.

When we arrived we didn't see Mini Ponies we saw Sheep and Chickens. The Mini Ponies were all out in the far pasture.


Here the Sheep greet us!




We met Beto, the son of Sr. José. Beto is also a Vet. When we arrived he recognized Lucia. Coincidently, they had both been at University at the same time, 12 years ago.

Here the three vets discuss the vare and feeding of the sheep.




Paulo chats with Beto about farming.




We went into the barn to meet the sheep. Look at the young ones.




Notice the wide variety of colours of these sheep.




Both young and old were all very shy and kept running away from us.




But they were curious about us. Look at those beautiful faces!




There were lots of them!




They decided to have lunch.




Lucia just wanted to touch them . . .




Finally she caught "Daddy" by his harness so she could say hello to him.




But the others wouldn't stand still for her.




Next we went outside to see the chickens.




This handsome fellow said, "Take my picture".




He even sat on the fence to pose for another pic.




Then all the chickens headed off for their lunch.




They went down the road toward their hen house.




Here we see the cows in the pasture.






As usual, our visit to the Farm of the Mini Ponies was an interesting and enjoyable experience. We will be back again for sure.


Watch for more pics and stories about the Farm of the Mini Ponies in the future!



Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE