Rene', who will be 2 next month, struggles to get out of her mother's arms into the pen full of mares and their offspring. Rene' doesn't smile until she is reaching to hug Glamour Puss, a red and white filly not much bigger than she.
"She loves the horses, especially the babies," says Leslie Kaminski, watching her daughter as she plays with the tiny, gentle horses of Gypsy Magic Miniature Horse Farm in White Marsh.
Ms. Kaminski, 29, her husband Bob, 32, and her sister, Stephanie Welsh, 34, owners of the Vincent Road farm, will have an "open barn" this weekend, opening the farm to the public, showing off the horses and the operation they started five years ago. The event is free.
"After we started, we were inundated with calls from people wanting to see the little horses," Ms. Welsh says, "so we decided to hold one open weekend a year to let people in."
The first event two years ago drew 250 people; last year 800 showed up.
A registered miniature horse can be no more than 34 inches high at the base of the mane, about the size of a large dog. They look like regular-sized horses, just much smaller.
Bred for "type," such as Thoroughbred, Arabian, quarter horse or draft horse, the miniatures were originally brought to this country in the 1930s as "pit ponies" in coal mines. They can pull eight times their weight or carry a child weighing 70 pounds or less.
Jumping and pulling demonstrations and presentations of show horses are scheduled today and tomorrow. The farm breeds, raises, shows, sells and trains miniatures.
The sisters grew up around horses (Gypsy Magic was the name of their first Shetland Pony) but didn't get interested in miniatures until their parents came back from a vacation trip and told them about a miniature horse farm in New York state.
Some visitors have taken a little horse home. But a horse's price is not always indicated by its size.
"A pet-quality miniature sells for $1,500 to $2,000," Ms. Welsh says. "For show quality, the sky's the limit."
Open barn hours at Gypsy Magic Miniature Horse Farm, 10504 Vincent Road, White Marsh, are 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow. Admission is free. Call (410) 335-8678 for more information.