Fort Worth Stock Show

Man’s passion is bringing together tiny horses, children

Star-Telegram

Emily Baker, 13, wore a dark sparkly top and pulled back her hair to properly show dramatic Phantoms Knightfall, a 2-year-old black and white miniature horse, in Thursday’s Miniature Horse Show at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

The Miniature Horse Show continues through Friday.

“He’s a halter horse, a Liberty horse,” she explained, as she waited for the top event, the 90-second Liberty freestyle run in which each horse runs to music selected especially to match its trot.

Baker, of Buda, and her sister Kayla Baker, 10, don’t own any horses of their own but get to train and show some of of the 165 horses belonging to Tony Greaves as part of a program called Thursday’s Kids.

The Buda rancher, owner of Little America Miniature Horses, has been putting together kids and tiny horses for quite a while.

“It’s something my daughter Lauren started,” Greaves said. “She’s 26, and started showing horses at age 3.”

Some of Lauren’s friends began working with horses, too, and since everyone could make it on a Thursday afternoon, that’s where the name was born.

“When she went away to A&M, she asked me to keep doing it,” Greaves said.

There’s no denying the bond between small horses and young girls. Kayla said she and her sister have been showing horses for two years. Her favorite is a smoky gray named Secret Storm.

“I raised my first miniature horse 51 years ago,” said Greaves, who is almost 70. “I’ve been coming to this show for 30 years.”

He loves the horses and the kids.

“Last year we had 12 horses and 6 kids, and showed in a total of 123 entries,” he said. “This year we couldn’t bring as many, so we have 6 kids, 9 horses and 83 entries.”

The Thursday-Friday show dates this year have really cut into the number of miniature horse entries because the young people who show them can’t get off from school easily, Greaves said. The miniature donkey show this weekend should fare better, and many of the same people exhibit in both.

Greaves also attends the 900-horse American Miniature Horse Association national show in October every year in Fort Worth. He has served as president and an officer in the organization.

“I just love the small horses,” Greaves said. “My family had Shetlands when I was born, and these miniature horses were bred down from Shetlands.”

He recalls attending the Fort Worth Stock Show for the first time at age 5, and feels at home bringing the horses and kids to show.

“It’s a family tradiition,” he said.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @shirljinkins

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