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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Horses fill the nest

  • The "empty nest syndrome" is a phrase used to describe how parents react when their children leave home. Rural Neosho residents Mike and Roberta Brown approached the empty nest syndrome in a unique way—they bought a pair of miniature horses.


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  • The "empty nest syndrome" is a phrase used to describe how parents react when their children leave home. Rural Neosho residents Mike and Roberta Brown approached the empty nest syndrome in a unique way—they bought a pair of miniature horses.
    After their son left home and their daughter was nearing her high school graduation, they wondered what they would do with their time when the kids were gone. While this was on their minds, they saw an advertisement for a pair of miniature horses in The Big Nickel and headed to Benton County, Arkansas, to see the animals.
    They bought the pair of horses, which turned out to be a mare and foal, and have continued to raise these tiny animals. They now have over sixty head.
    Roberta explained, "We like the horses...We enjoy them."
    Mike Brown smiled when he said, "It's a hobby that went astray."
    Although Mike and Roberta both think of themselves as town kids, they had acreage at the time they bought the first miniatures.
    "We had some cattle and a couple of quarter horses that Misty (their daughter) rode," Mike explained.
    It has been nearly twenty years since the first pair of horses came into their lives. Now their lives are filled with adventures and stories about their horses. Roberta told a story about a baby horse who lost its mother at birth, so she had to learn to "bucket feed" the motherless foal.
    The orphan, which they named "Little Orphan Annie," stayed in a dog pen which was beside the basement of the house. There was a dog door and, in warm weather, Annie would stick her head inside to get cool.
    "She didn't know she was a horse," Roberta said. "She didn't like it when we turned her out with the other horses."
    Now, daughter Mysty and son-in-law Jason Bond do much of the heavy work of tending the horses. They catch and trim the horses as needed.
     "I'm still the chore boy, though," Mike said.
    Granddaughter Mikena has taken a strong liking to the horses and even gets in the pen or pasture to play with the young ones. Last year all the babies had Harry Potter character names. This year they all are named for rock stars.
    In July, Mikena showed a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and yearling horse at the Newton County Fair. It was a first fair showing experience for the nine-year-old, a fourth grader at George Washington Carver Grade School.
    Mike Brown explained that their horses are actually the same as regular horses, except "They just happen to be smaller."
    The Browns maintain an adult herd of registered, Class A miniature horses. Roberta said they do not register the colts until they know they will keep them. "We had fourteen colts this year," Roberta said.
    Page 2 of 2 - With so many animals, they have found they must sell some of the youngsters each year. They do most of their selling over the internet and keep their prices reasonable to assure better sales.
    Class A miniature horses must be less than 34 inches high at the "last hair on the mane." Since many of the horses grow until they are five years old, the registration is made final at that time. Some horses that are sold are not registered if the new owners don't want or need registration.
    Raising miniature horse cured the empty nest syndrome for Mike and Roberta Brown. As Roberta said, "They grow on you."

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