For such little horses, Darla and Shadow certainly made a big impression during their June 28 visit to the Addison Township Public Library in Lakeville.
Owned by Addison residents Angie and Rich Feeney, the horses were part of a fun and educational program for kids that mixed equine facts and fostering a love of reading.
Angie explained that Darla and Shadow are miniature horses (or ponies).
“This is as big as they get. That’s it,” she said.
Darla is 25 years old while Shadow is 14.
“They’re best friends,” Angie said. “If one leaves, the other one cries – loud. They love each other.”
Angie told the kids there’s no reason to fear horses.
“Horses, by nature, are very nice,” she said. “People think ‘that horse wants to kick me (or) that horse wants to bite me.’ They’re very peaceful animals. They just get scared sometimes.”
During her presentation, Angie talked about what Darla and Shadow eat and what she does to care for their hooves and teeth.
Every eight weeks, a farrier comes to trim their hooves, and once a year, a dentist visits to “file their teeth down.”
“They don’t use toothpaste or mouthwash or dental floss,” Angie said.
If their teeth don’t get filed they “get really sharp,” which can be “painful” for a horse.
Angie enjoys grooming her horses.
“They have hair brushes just like us,” she said.
One of the kids asked Angie why Darla has bows in her mane.
“Because I like them,” she replied. “I didn’t really give her a choice. I said, ‘You’re cute and you’re wearing bows.’”
Following Angie’s presentation, the kids all took turns reading books to the little horses, petting them, hugging them and feeding them handfuls of grass.