Her full name is ‘Hot Child in the City’, but the people who love her call her ‘Hottie’ – and not without reason. The diminutive four-year old from Calgary not only won the title of Canadian National Senor Mare Champion, but was also judged Canadian National Supreme Halter Horse as the Canadian National Miniature Horse Show wrapped up on Thursday afternoon.
“We bred her, so we have raised her up from this young foal,” says Stephani Pappas of First Knight Miniatures. “We have both of her parents and her grandparents.” In business for 27 years, Stephani says the business began when her mom K.C., a keen horsewoman, was pregnant and saw some miniature horses at an auction. “She thought it would be an interesting thing to do, and it kind of took off from there.”
One nice thing about miniature horses is that they’re, well, little. “We’re only on about five acres and we have about 20 miniature horses,” Stephani points out. “They’re a little bit less expensive because they don’t eat quite so much. They can do everything. They can jump. They can drive. They can do obstacles. They can do halter. They’re a wonderful all–around breed.
Miniature horses are indeed a separate breed, not midget versions of other breeds. The little beauties are descended from the pit ponies that were used in mines, deliberately bred to be small to fit into the narrow confines of the mines of a couple of centuries ago. Today’s miniatures are somewhat different from their ancestors, Stephani says. “Pit ponies were a much stockier horse. They almost looked like a miniature heavy horse.”
The Canadian National Miniature Horse Show wasn’t all about Hottie, of course. Other winners were: HCM Warpaint’s Feeling Groovy shown by Calgarians Louise and Kim Locke in Country Pleasure Driving and Roadster, Imprint Totally Royal Sultan shown by K.C. Pappas in Junior Gelding, First Knight’s Return of the King shown by Randy McGowan of Okotoks in Senior Stallion, Samis Whiz Kid shown by Sarah Hunter of Strathmore in Single Pleasure Driving, First Knight’s Heir to the Throne shown by K.C. Pappas in Junior Stallion, the Lockes’ Circle J Princess in Pleasure Driving, First Knight’s American Idol shown by Taylor Gibbons of Calgary in Senior Gelding and Imprint Striders Special Reflection shown by K.C. Pappas in Junior Mare.
Reserve Champions were: Sarah Hunter’s Hidden Timbers Comanche Spook in Country Pleasure Driving, WCR My Roxy Roller shown by Waskatenau, AB’s Marj Brown in Senior Mare, WCR Regalaire shown by Dawn Labine of Millet, AB in Roadster and Single Pleasure Driving, First Knight’s Extra Special shown by K.C. Pappas in Junior Gelding, Sarah Hunter’s Erica’s X Marks the Spot in Senior Stallion, KSB Thunder Strikes Indiana shown by Christine Tilleman of Airdrie, AB in Junior Stallion, Scott Creek Mystic Talk About shown by Laura Lee of High River, AB in Pleasure Driving, Dawn Labine’s SKR Whodini in Senior Gelding and First Knight’s Southern Belle shown by K.C. Pappas in Junior Mare.
Stampede is a great big deal,” Stephani says. “It’s the Canadian Nationals. This is our top of the top show in Canada.” She thinks Hottie and the other First Knight entries can feel the enthusiasm of their hometown crowd. “They hear the cheering and they know it’s for them. They’re the star.”