As far as we know, Charlie the miniature horse was simply minding her own business in her paddock in Australia when someone came along and started filming her every move in 2015. But it was as if the spirited wee soul got to thinking that she should put on a show for the camera. And the pint-sized pony’s performance attracted five-star reviews when the impossibly cute footage later emerged online.
Farmer Shane Hancock lives and works in Ipswich, near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. He is passionate about animals, advocating wildlife conservation while also running his own llama breeding ranch, Southern Cross Llamas. But in early 2015 Hancock’s livestock expanded by a count of exactly one. However, it was not a baby South American mammal which raised the farm’s headcount.
No, in March 2015, Hancock welcomed the arrival of Charlie the miniature horse to the Southern Cross Llamas facility. By definition, miniature horses – although perfectly formed – only grow to be 34 to 38 inches tall. And thanks to their dinky size and friendly demeanor, they have become popular pets in many countries across the world.
According to the American Miniature Horse Registry, such animals “should be a small, sound, well-balanced horse and should give the impression of strength, agility and alertness.” Furthermore, the Illinois-based organization goes on to state, “A miniature should be eager and friendly but not skittish in disposition.”
In some ways, miniature horses are like a cross between a canine and an equine. Like dogs, they make great companions but nevertheless the minis must be treated like horses in order to assist their natural behavior. Thanks to their distinctive personalities, they make great service animals but can also be trained to enter equestrian shows.
After Charlie came along, it did not take long for her quirky character to shine through. As soon as she was on her feet, the pint-sized pony loved to gallop. And despite her diminutive stature, when she ran she showed all the grace of a thoroughbred mare. At the same time, Hancock had to get used to Charlie attempting to round up his llamas like a dog would do with some sheep.
When Charlie was just a few weeks old, Adam Cox, an intrepid, animal-loving filmmaker based in Brisbane, went on a special trip to Ipswich to visit her. He found the foal so adorable that he decided to film a portion of their first meeting in August 2015 for posterity. Indeed, what Cox captured on camera proved so extraordinarily entertaining it lit up the internet with delight when he later posted the footage online.
Cox’s footage opens with little Charlie slowly plodding around her paddock. Suitably country style music opens up on the soundtrack. However, when the entertaining character notices that all eyes are on her, it is like Charlie decides to give her audience something to really look at. She then breaks into a brisk canter that sends her careering around her enclosure.
With the Queensland wind in her mane and the earth of the farm gliding beneath her tiny hooves, Charlie is a moving definition of carefree. She also fulfills the American Miniature Horse Registry’s brief of showing “strength, agility and alertness.” While she may be little, she has a big spirit and its seems Charlie will stop at nothing to flaunt her prowess around the paddock.
Because what the pint-sized pony lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in style as Charlie gallops, trots and canters in the enclosure. She displays all the might of a unbroken stallion from the Wild West, just in miniature form. As if to assert her dominance among her stablemates, the mini mare circles the fenced circumference of the paddock, stopping every so often to coltishly kick out her little legs.
After circling her fellow animals, Charlie turns her attention to her human audience. She zig-zags across the field before charging towards one of their number. However, an instant before the pocket-size prancer makes contact with the onlooker’s legs, she abruptly pulls herself in the opposite direction. And then the seemingly irrepressible Charlie is off again…
Now that she has apparently showed those pesky humans exactly who is boss, Charlie continues to charge around the field. But next it becomes clear that her dominant demeanor is just for show, and that the foal is still fond of a tiny pamper. We see Charlie pause her parade, and the country music soundtrack also halts for a moment, as she relishes a short-but-sweet back rub.
However, once she has enjoyed all the back scratches she has time for, Charlie continues on her rampage, recharged and refreshed, and the country sounds resume. The foal gallops wildly through the grass without looking like she is ever going to stop. And it is unknown if Charlie ever really did, since Cox’s footage soon comes to an untimely end.
The animal-obsessed filmmaker uploaded his short clip to the video sharing website YouTube in September 2015. Indeed, Cox has his own naturalist channel on the website named Wakaleo after an extinct lion-like marsupial once native to Australia. A caption accompanying his Ipswich footage read, “Charlie is a miniature horse foal who was recently born on a farm in South East Queensland and thinks she is a bull, looking at the way she runs.”
The description of the clip continued, “With loads of personality, there’s never a dull moment when Charlie gets going.” Not content with this gross understatement, Cox went on to reveal, “From the time Charlie could walk, she was always confident on her feet and loved to gallop.”
Explaining the frolicsome foal’s entertaining behavior further, the caption stated, “She enjoys the company of humans a lot so is always looking for attention from them. Charlie loves to round other animals up just like a dog would. [She] often plays with and does this to the llamas she shares her paddock with.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cox’s clip of Charlie’s adorable antics proved to be quite the hit online. The filmmaker’s Southern Cross Llamas footage on YouTube has gone on to attract more than one million views. Consequently, it seemed that people just could not get enough of the tiny horse and her larger-than-life persona.
And many of these YouTube users availed themselves of the comment function to voice their pleasure. After watching the clip of Charlie’s capers, one delighted YouTube user said, “Doesn’t your heart sing with joy when you see an animal frolicking happily and healthily?” Another viewer simply added, “This is my favorite thing ever.”
Other contributors could not help but notice how much Charlie resembled a bucking bronco – in spirit at least. “Nobody puts Charlie in the corner,” one fan wrote. “She’s wild and free (at least in her mind.) Ride the range, Charlie, ride the range.” Another joked, “Charlie was supposed to sing in the video. But, she can’t. She’s a little horse.”
And there is no denying that Charlie is simply one of a kind. However, it turned out that the miniature horse would not be all that unique for too long after Cox shot his video. The filmmaker informed his followers that shortly after Charlie’s birth, her mom mated again with the foal’s dad. This meant that the attention-seeking Charlie would soon have a little brother or sister to share the limelight with. No cute footage of their super-cute cavorting has so far surfaced, so perhaps it is time for Cox to visit Southern Cross Llamas with his camera once again.