By Amanda Stringfellow @Amanda_L_S

A TINY horse called Acer is believed to be Britain’s smallest steed at just 22 inches tall

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Videographer / Director: Matt Writtle
Producer: Amanda Stringfellow
Editor: Sonia Estal

Acer with owner Maureen O'Sullivan and Labrador Demon in the living room of her home

Acer lives with his owner Maureen O’Sullivan at her Miniature Horse Farm in Corringham, Essex – and is so tiny he’s allowed into the family home.
 
The petite horse is so small because he was born with a rare condition called dwarfism – a recessive gene which only affects a foal when it is carried by both of the parents.

Acer is introduced to a horse of a more normal height

Most foals with dwarfism are usually put down due to health issues - but Maureen saved the tiny horse, as she couldn’t bear to part with him.

Maureen said: “We imported his Dad from America and put him with our American mare and they must both have been carrying the dwarf gene – he was the result.

“Due to dwarves having various health issues most
breeders would have put him down - but little Acer was so full of life and otherwise healthy, it was never an option.”

Walkies! Acer and Demon are taken for a stroll by Maureen

Acer was 14.5" at birth, which is significantly smaller than the average height for a newborn miniature horse of 20”.

Despite his stunted size he weighed the same as a normal miniature foal, which resulted in a difficult birth and hours of anxious waiting for Maureen.

Since then Acer has had to have special treatment on his hooves – which cost Maureen thousands of pounds.

Acer poses in front of his home with owner Maureen

The three-year-old was born in a stable on the farm where he still lives now, but has a tiny stable door specially fitted so he can see out on to the yard.

Maureen said: “We had the door specially made for him so he can put his head over and see all the other horses.

“It’s a very big stable for a little horse but he was born in this stable and now it’s his stable for life.”

Acer has dwarfism due to a recessive gene carried by both his parents

Acer is even allowed in the family home – where he is small enough to fit under the kitchen table.

Maureen said: “One day we were in the living room and he just wondered in – we were really surprised.

“When he comes in he loves to watch the television – he just stands there staring at it.

Most foals with dwarfism are put down - but Maureen fell in love with Acer

“He likes to walk around and sniff everything so now we let him come and go when he wants.

“We have to keep an eye on him because he’s not house trained but he’s never done anything naughty.

“He’s absolutely one of the family now, he wonders around the farm.

Acer is dwarfed by the full-size horses kept on the farm – but is a firm favorite with Maureen who treats him as one of the family.

Acer in his stable with a custom made door

The little equine is best friends with a Labrador called Demon, who is taller than the tiny horse.

Maureen said: “Demon and little Acer are best buddies, they have been playing since Acer was a foal.

“Now they’re both a bit old to play but they’re so similar in size – Acer is more like a dog than a horse.”