On LIFE’s December 22, 1952 issue, three-year-old Cynthia West was pictured standing next to Chauncey, a three-foot-tall miniature horse. Chauncey was imported from England by Willis Parker – an animal trainer. Chauncey was among the four miniature horse that Parker imported. They each weighed around 90 pounds. Parker’s Lilliput Ranch in California also supplied animals for films and thought these mini horses would appeal to movie and television producers. Besides the big-wigs, these horses were a hit among neighborhood children such as Cynthia.
According to Life:
Miniature horses have historically served a purpose beyond cuteness: their small stature made them a good fit for coal mines in 19th century England and America after child labor was outlawed. The horses came to be prized as show animals and pets during the 20th century. While some work as service animals for people with disabilities, they have a few disadvantages. Unlike, say, dogs, the mini horses are livestock animals that fare better in outdoor stables.