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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Buddy the mini horse takes over UA

    Tom Price
    Buddy the mini-horse poses for a photo at the Daily Wildcat newsroom on Sunday, Jan. 31. Buddy has struck a chord in many students on campus recently, even sparking a Facebook page by his owner.

    At the UA, many dogs and their owners dominate the campus, but among the sea of canines swims a different animal — a miniature horse named Buddy. Justin Skinner, 33, is a Marana, Arizona, resident who brings Buddy on campus to socialize with people.

    Skinner got Buddy to fill a child-size hole in his life. “I like animals and decided in my life that I’d have them instead of kids,” he said. “Buddy is seven. I got him when he was one and very small. I’ve had him for six years.”

    In spite of him not being the most common pet, Buddy sometimes surprises casual observers.

    “He’s kind of like a dog,” Skinner said. “He’s been mistaken for a St. Bernard multiple times and more people [were] freaked out when they saw that he wasn’t.”

    Skinner also has emus, pygmy goats and ducks, among other animals, but said that Buddy is the most low-maintenance pet. “He’s incredibly easy. He costs less than a dog every month to feed,” he said. “I have a heeler [Australian Cattle Dog] and he costs about $50 a month, and Buddy costs $25.”

    Skinner’s and Buddy’s walks often turn into long journeys that take a couple of hours.

    “I usually park around Speedway and Campbell and come through the Mall,” he said. “The end result is University Boulevard and having a beer with him.”

    No Anchovies Pizza bartender Annie Bank saw Buddy and Skinner on Sunday night during one of their adventures. “Buddy the horse came in with his owner,” she said. “He just wanted to come down and have a couple drinks and get a slice of pizza at No Anchovies.”

    Bank recalled that it took Justin about an hour and a half to walk from where he parked because he got stopped so many times by people asking to pet his horse.

    With all the commotion going on at No Anchovies, Starbucks barista and UA law junior, Mckenzie Trimble, heard about the miniature horse from a customer that walked by and saw Buddy.

    “My co-worker and I were in such shock that we had to go see,” she said. “He was just sitting right inside the door and we were petting him.”

    According to Trimble, Buddy was calm. Buddy seemed comfortable around humans. He didn’t turn around or shake, or do much of anything, for that matter. “Very cool, calm, and collected,” Trimble said, describing the miniature horse’s personality.

    More people than he can count come up to Skinner just to ask if they can pet Buddy.

    “The first set of buildings I came up to, like 10 girls ran up to us screaming and I didn’t know what to expect with it,” he said.

    When asked why he chose to bring Buddy to UA, Skinner said, “I wanted to find a place with a lot of people, where I didn’t think someone was going to harass him. I’ve seen people walking dogs down here, so I figured I’d see what happened and everyone seems to love him. He’s good with dogs, he’s good with kids, and he’s proven to be pretty good with everybody even if they run up to him screaming.”

    Find pictures and videos of Buddy on his Facebook page. 

    Follow Laurel Reisch on Twitter.

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