ANIMAL

Meet the smallest horse in the world that’s shorter than a greyhound

Guinness World Records reveals some of the biggest record-setting stars. Within the pages of this year’s bonanza of superlatives, you’ll find everything from the largest pizza and the largest crocodyliform ever to the tallest hat and the longest cat. But not all records are larger than life… 

Doing it for the little guys is a miniature Appaloosa from Poland. Bombel (“Bubble” – so-named for his rotund shape) is the shortest male horse, standing just 56.7 cm (1 ft 10 in) from hoof to shoulder blades. 

Bombel is by far the smallest equine resident of KasKada stud farm in Łódź, where he lives alongside many larger horses. His owners Patryk and Katarzyna Zielińska insist that, despite his small stature, their vertically disinclined stallion has “a huge personality and a huge heart.” 

Bombel gets on fine with his larger paddock-mates, according to the Zielińskas
Bombel gets on fine with his larger paddock-mates, according to the Zielińskas

According to the American Miniature Horse Association, the standard for a mini horse is anything below 9.5 hands (38 in; 96.5 cm) at the withers, so Bombel comfortably qualifies. 

The Zielińskas first saw Bombel in 2014, when he was just two months old. Even then, he was noticeably tiny, though his parents were normal size for miniature horses.

Bombel is the new king of the tiny horse castle
Bombel is the new king of the tiny horse castle

The professional horse breeders had a suspicion from early on that the new addition to their stables was special, as Katarzyna explained: “We thought something is going on with him. When he started growing up, we saw he wasn’t growing as he was supposed to be. That was when we decided we should [approach] Guinness World Records.”

The world’s tallest living horse – Big Jake from Wisconsin, USA – stands almost four times the height of Bombel!
The world’s tallest living horse – Big Jake from Wisconsin, USA – stands almost four times the height of Bombel!

While his status as the smallest horse in the world may now have confirmed him to be one-of-a-kind, Bombel hasn’t let the glory go to his head. He still finds time to do some voluntary work. 

Once a month, he visits a local children’s hospital to help brighten the day of the young patients. Having seen horses going into US hospitals as emotional support animals, Katarzyna was inspired to do the same. 

“Bombel has changed our lives completely, because he allows us to help other people and make kids happy.”

Bombel with the young child of a family friend for size context
Bombel with the young child of a family friend for size context

Interestingly, reactions at the hospital to this small horse tend to vary between young and old.

“The kids just love Bombel and they don’t care [about] his size. The adults are: ‘What’s that!’ They cannot even imagine such a small horse…”

The shortest horse ever is Thumbelina, who sadly passed away in 2018. This miniature sorrel brown mare from St Louis, Missouri, USA, measured 44.5 cm (1 ft 5 in) tall. Guinness World Records is currently on the look-out for a new shortest female horse, so if you have a minute mare that you think could be a contender, get in touch

The late Thumbelina remains the shortest horse ever
The late Thumbelina remains the shortest horse ever

Bombel isn’t the only pint-sized farmyard resident making his world debut in GWR 2020. The short stallion is also joined by the shortest bull, Humphrey.

Humphrey – the new smallest bull – also features in GWR 2020
Humphrey – the new smallest bull – also features in GWR 2020

Katarzyna for one is looking forward to receiving her copy of GWR 2020. “We’re so happy and proud to have Bombel in the Guinness World Records book,” she enthused. 

“We can’t wait to see his pictures. It’s [great] prestige for us.”