WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A Facebook video of a horse the same size as a golden retriever has gone viral online with over 14 million views. The horse is named Martha and she will be that small her whole life because she was born with dwarfism, a genetic mutation.
The viral video shows the horse overcoming health deformities and running around the ranch that rescued it.
News 4 found out that Martha was rescued by R & R Ranch in Wildwood, Missouri. Her rescuers, Stacy Rolfe and her daughter Belle, found Martha on a Craig's List ad in December, being advertised as a Christmas present.
Martha was only born 2 months prior, which Rolfe said is too young for a horse to be separated from its mother.
"People think they are so cute...I want one...and how hard can it be?" said Rolfe, which she says is such a common and dangerous misconception.
People believe mini and dwarf horses to simply be cute and fun pets, but Rolfe said their small size leads to several health complications.
"Most people don't understand the amount of work or care that goes into them," said Rolfe.
When Rolfe and her daughter went to pick up Martha at the Iowa farm she was born at, they said her legs were very deformed. Rolfe had to carry Martha because she couldn't walk on her own.
"We could see Martha's legs, how badly twisted they were and how misshapen they were, which is a very common problem with dwarfs," said Rolfe.
Rolfe and her ranch staff began working to correct Martha's gait.
"Martha gets her feet trimmed every two weeks, which is what it takes to help straighten out her legs," said Rolfe.
Martha has only been at R & R ranch for three months, but has made huge progress. One of her favorite things to do is run.
Rolfe and her daughter offer tours of R & R Ranch where visitors can play and interact with Martha and the 19 other horses they have, including 17 minis and two full-sized horses. The Rolfe's say they use these tours as an opportunity to education people on how to care for mini and dwarf horses to prevent future neglect and abuse of these animals.
To check out tour times, you can view the ranch's Facebook page, here.
You can also stay up to date with Martha on her Instagram account, here.