Pint-sized pony

The owners of a miniature horse farm near Ashland expected a new foal, but they didn't expect it to be the smallest in their experience.

Gloria Natalia and Royce Nutting's white miniature horse, Snowflake, gave birth to a 20-pound filly on July 29 at their five-acre ranch on East Ashland Lane, east of Interstate 5 and just north of Ashland.

Jazmin, who stood just 16 inches tall at birth, smaller than the neighbor's dog, is the third foal born at the ranch this year. The others are Uncle Sam (born in April) and Gladiola (born in June).

Natalia is proud of their horses.

"Everybody in the neighborhood has been coming to see them," she says. "We wanted to share them with the rest of Ashland.

Natalia and Nutting have had around 15 miniature horses born on their ranch in the nine years they have been raising horses. Most have been between 25 and 30 pounds, but "Snowflake is pretty small too," Natalia says. "We were a little worried when she was going to give birth."

According to the website for Scott Creek Farms, a miniature horse farm in Salem, the horses can range from 12 to 25 pounds at birth. However, Nutting and Natalia have never experienced one as small as Jazmin, nor have any of their neighbors they've conferred with.

Natalia and Nutting moved to Ashland from Orange County, Calif. in 2005. Natalia is originally from Lima, Peru, and Nutting grew up in Ventura, Calif. While Nutting had grown up around horses at his grandfather's farm, Natalia had never gotten very close to animals before she and her husband began raising the miniature horses.

"I was definitely a city girl," she says.

While Nutting raises the horses, Natalia is a professional hair dresser. She hosted a beauty television show in Orange County and was the Spanish language editor for "Modern Salon" magazine.

Along with the eight miniature horses, Natalia and Nutting have Jacob Sheep (two rams and four ewes), a rooster and Chocolaté, the farm's designated guard mule.

"We used to have coyotes come on to the farm and attack the horses," Natalia says. "Chocolaté keeps the wild animals away."

Natalia and Nutting keep some of their horses but others are sold to other horse farmers.

"We make sure to find them good homes," Natalia says. "They're better than dogs. Royce takes them out and plays with them when they're born so they become very friendly and loving."

Natalia hopes to show the miniature horses in future parades in Ashland.

Reach reporter Ian Hand at 541-776-4464. Follow him on Twitter at

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