Minis frolic on Fiesta Island

So Cal Mini Horse Sanctuary held a beach day breakfast and afternoon barbecue while spotlighting their function as the world’s largest mini horse rescue/sanctuary. Founders Jeanne and Carlos Candelario showcased the equine play day surrounded by minis splashing, jumping and munching on an abundance of hay and treats. The annual event, now in its fourth year, recruited everyone “to see who we are.”

“We celebrated the opportunity to gather like-minded owners to meet while introducing ourselves to those who don’t know who we are or what we do,” said Jeanne Candelario.

The So Cal Mini Horse Sanctuary is instrumental in the care, welfare and lifesaving of miniature horses. The nonprofit organization uses 100 percent of its donations for the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of neglected, abused and abandoned miniature horses. Candelario works “tirelessly” to inform the public on the plight of mini horses because “people do bad things to mini horses.

“Caring for a mini is a full-time responsibility not to be taken lightly,” she said. “Minis are not cute dogs. They’re equines. Overbred by backyard breeders, they’re often abused and abandoned.”

The So Cal Mini Horse Sanctuary was born serendipitously. Severely injured by a riding accident, “so much so that I thought I’d never ride again,” Candelario purchased a mini, “because I couldn’t give up my love for horses.”

Rescuing minis “became a necessity” after realizing the extent of neglect and abuse these animals endured due to a lack of understanding how to properly care for them. Candelario said that minis are often given as presents – grandparents to their grandchildren – but their novelty quickly wanes.

“Similar to Easter bunnies, minis are cute at first, then neglected, abused or taken to auction and dumped for money,” she said. “We happily rescue the malnourished and abandoned from questionable fates. Minis enter our sanctuary emaciated, abused and neglected, no doubt on their way to a merciless end. We even cross state lines, literally saving some from death’s door.”

The sanctuary began as a private family venture a decade ago because “what better way to teach my boys compassion” while noting that nothing of its kind existed. Minis were rescued from public auctions and selected from “sad” Craigslist ads. Local auctions are noted as the first stop for minis destined for a “darker and crueler” outcome.

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