SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — At Little Hooves Mini Horse Rescue near White you will find about 45 horses. Most of them are miniature horses or ponies.

“They are just such endearing and forgiving creatures. I mean, they are horses they act just like a big horse in a smaller package, said Little Hooves owner Val Hicks.

Some are blind, some have foot problems and some have behavioral issues. At least half of the horses that come here are neglected.

“It’s rarely intentional, people don’t know, they don’t know what it takes to manage them, they get out of control, and they don’t know how to fix it, so that’s kind of where I come in,” said Hicks.

There isn’t much Hicks doesn’t know about horses. It was her field of study in college and she is an expert farrier and a trainer. Sometimes other rescues will make use of those talents.

The recent arrival is Knight — a beautiful and spirited black horse is an example.

“He belongs to Gentle Spirits Rescue down in Scotland, and he’s here because he’s super fearful, and part of that fear involves a really strong kicking response,” said Hicks.

Hicks is building trust and working with Knight to make him adoptable

“He’s really smart, and he catches on fast he learns things really fast, and usually those make some of the best partners because they’re not just on autopilot they just work for you, but they can be the biggest problems to deal with too, said Hicks.

Hicks is also known for her expertise in helping horses with overgrown hooves. They can stretch the tendons and cause a lot of pain, and in some cases, cause a horse to go lame. That’s how Daisy May came to Little Hooves. This miniature mule decided her own fate. It happened when Hicks went to Minnesota to pick up two ponies.

“When we were loading them, she just jumped in the trailer and didn’t want to get out, so she got to come along, I guess,” said Hicks.

Hicks is in the process of fixing Daisy May’s hooves, the front are already done.

“She is a sweet little thing. I kind of like her she is really endearing.”

Daisy May is adoptable but needs a home where she is simply a pet. Hicks gets donations for the horses, sometimes in the form of hay. She also raises money for the shelter in other ways.

“I train ponies to drive, and that helps buy hay they also do some parades and pony rides and do a lot of little girls’ birthday parties, bring a unicorn to a birthday party and give pony rides and things like that, that all help,” said Hicks.

Hicks has about a half dozen horses she considers hers, mainly her driving teams. Her goal is to find homes for the rest of them.

“Every pony has a story, and every person has a story, and kind of solving both of their problems is really what I do.”

You can find more information by visiting the Little Hooves Mini Horse Rescue Facebook page