Woman gets big kick out of raising small horses

May 12, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

LEMASTERS, Pa. - For two weeks, Pauline Harmon got up every two hours during the night to make sure the baby wasn't being born.

When the time came, she helped to deliver it and then named it.

Now she'll feed it and care for it until she sells it.

Harmon, 67, of Harmony Hills farmstead on Harrytown Road, is the proud owner of a 20-inch American miniature horse named Copper Penny, her first "baby" of the spring. Three more are due this month.

"I like them because they're small. As you get older, I just think they're more manageable," Harmon said.

An equine enthusiast since childhood, Harmon decided 10 years ago to try her hand at raising and selling miniature horses, tiny replicas of their larger counterparts. The small horses are growing in popularity as pets and for showing.


"They're not difficult to take care of," Harmon said. "They're like a big dog."

Harmon said she has sold some of the young horses as pets, but mostly sells them to breeding farms for show.

Harmon's tiny horses were the center of attention last year as nearly 800 people - including school groups and nursing home residents - from several states came to her farm to see them.

Harmon has been known to take a newborn with her on the road, showing it to senior citizens groups and taking it to fairs and other events.

"The horses really draw a lot of attention," she said.

Although Harmon speaks of breeding to get the best blood lines and the business side of raising the animals, it's difficult for her to hide the affection she has for her miniature horses.

"When one of those babies goes down the road it's like my children are being taken away," Harmon said. "It's like a funeral around here for three or four days, sometimes a week."

The owner of two stallions, four mares and the new filly, Harmon talks to them as if they're her children and when she calls them by name, they come.

When her mares are about to give birth, Harmon installs a baby monitor in their stalls so she can constantly listen in from her home across the yard.

"You have to listen or be with them because if a mare can't have the baby, it'll die," Harmon said.

Harmon is no stranger to horses. She began riding at age 6 and bought her first horse when she turned 15.

Eventually it became a family activity when her five children learned how to ride and participated in parades, fairs, shows and wagon trains.

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