The Royal Farmyard has been a hot spot for families this week at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair at the Keystone Centre, offering hands-on experiences for all ages to meet and greet goats, cattle, horses and sheep, and so many more furry and fuzzy friends!

Carman area farmers Rod and Heather Hart have a passion for equine friends that come in small packages, miniature horses!  They were founding members of the Manitoba Miniature Horse Club. Heather Hart says there are now between 45-50 families that belong to the Club, and it is a true passion for each of their member families.

The Royal Farmyard interactive display booth is something the Hart's have participated in for quite a number of years.  "We've always done it because we want to promote the miniature horse as a family horse," she explains. "And so that was our reason for getting started way back in the 90's, and we want to tell people more about them!"

Hart says the Winter Fair has become the perfect place to launch their annual fundraiser where they raffle off a miniature horse to raise money for the club's activities. 

"We do work with shows and so on, but we also try to provide a lot of events that don't require show horses, where people can have their family pet, sometimes it's clinics and obstacle courses and trail rides and lots of things like that, that anybody can be part of even if they're not into showing them."

At Meadowind Miniatures, the Hart family train their horses for carting, miniature buggies pulled with their horses.  Heather says there are a number of benefits of having a miniature horse rather than owning and caring for the larger members of the horse family.

She says they don't eat as much as a larger horse, they require smaller areas of shelter, they're easier to handle for youngsters and seniors, and they just make lovable wonderful additions to any family.

Please listen to more with Heather Hart below!

For more information on miniature horses of Manitoba, visit the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair's Royal Farmyard from now to the end of Saturday at the Keystone Centre.