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  • Writer's pictureTim Chandler

Meet the Whispering Pines Mini-Horses

Meet our two local celebs named "Peaches" (female, 12 years old) and "Ace" of Hearts (male, 2 years). They are American Miniature Horse Association registered, meaning they are certified horses standing under 34-38 inches tall at the withers near the last hairs of their mane. Utilizing the facilities here at the mini-ranch, we train our minis using big horse techniques so we're ready for local parades and events in Payson, Pine, Strawberry, and surrounding Rim Country towns.

Whispering Pines, Payson, Arizona Mini Horses
Peaches and Ace at home in Whispering Pines, Payson, AZ

Aren't They "Ponies"?

Our miniature horses are often mistaken for Ponies, especially in Winter when they have a full winter coat and look a little like Shetland ponies. But ponies are bigger, stockier with thicker necks, and have relatively shorter legs and thicker coats than mini-horses. In summer, Peaches and Ace drop their winter coats and have sleek coats and the refined features of full size horses, like longer necks and longer legs.

Mini-horse forest walk, Payson, Arizona
Ace enjoys long walks in the Tonto National Forest

The difference between a mini-horse and a pony's stature is key, and is the main reason we don't do "pony rides" as our minis can't carry as much weight. They CAN pull, and have plenty of horse-power for hauling carts and buggies!

Why keep minis instead of bigger horses?

We love horses of all sizes - but minis bring a social aspect to our lives that bigger horses can't offer. Ride down the street on a full size horse and people may stop and wave, but they may be cautious in approaching - and rightly so. Big horses can be intimidating to non-horse people.

Mini-horse "Peaches" in Payson's Annual Rodeo Parade
Peaches performing at Payson's Annual Rodeo Parade

Bring a mini-horse anywhere near the same people and they immediately soften and approach, asking for the ability to pet the minis and interact with us. Our minis smash social barriers, and when people greet us they tend to present the best of themselves with genuine smiles, greetings, and honest laughter as they take photos and ask questions. We so appreciate and enjoy the open, friendly interaction, and we know we'd never meet half of these wonderful folks if our mini-horses weren't there to draw them in.

Training for Friendly Perfection

The horses train constantly in the round pen and at liberty, and are rare in that they are very well socialized to larger horses, dogs, people and just about any distract

ion we can throw at them.

Peaches the Mini-horse visits Payson, Starbucks

We work hard with the help of our trainer Myndi Brogdon to ensure the horses don't need to be fed treats or be penned to be great horses around families and small children - as we believe the closer interactions possible with highly trained miniature horses is worth the effort. The result? We can take them nearly anywhere, and are often found at local restaurants and other venues visiting the public. This heavy socialization also makes them excellent wedding horses - walking the aisle as his/hers ring bearers!

Visit the Horses and Stay with Us in Whispering Pines

Peaches and Ace live with us on our mini-ranch in Whispering Pines, just North-east of Payson, Arizona. They have have a mini-barn, a corral, and share a common bar yard with other mini-creatures including mini goats and lots of chickens! With a dedicated mini-round pen our horses train year round and are treated like proper rodeo stars so they're ready to load up in their specialized mini-horse trailer and work local shows, parades, or private events.

Mini-horse jump rope training Airbnb Experience
Our Mini-horse helping an Airbnb guest jump rope!

If you'd like to stay, our 5-star, 5-bedroom BnB home offers creek-side living on the East Verde river. Enjoy a modern, upscale, country house with full wrap around porch, propane fire pit, fishing just steps from the back door, off-road riding in the Tonto National Forest and access to some of the best beginner to intermediate hiking in Arizona at Waterwheel and Washington Park.

While you're here, we'll arrange plenty of time with the animals, and your family can learn to work and play with Peaches and Ace, the best twin white mini-horses in the forest!

Find us on Facebook at "The Chandler's Airbnb".

Follow the herd on Instagram @elkbrookranch

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