Ashland is home to many small farms filled with sheep and horses, but Royce Nutting's stands out. Nutting, a financial adviser and investor, breeds an eclectic group of animals including miniature horses, Jacob's sheep and Nigerian dwarf goats.

"They're great for grandchildren," says Nutting, who has 15 grandkids.

Of all his animals, Nutting considers his miniature horses his gems. Nutting's small herd of seven "minis" roam a small pasture near the four-horned Jacob's sheep and Nigerian goats.

"They're not that expensive and make practical pets," Nutting says. "They make mini profits and mini messes." Miniature horses also don't require as much food, don't cost as much and usually live longer than full-size horses.

Miniature horses originally were bred to pull carts in coal mines in the 1800s.

The horse breeding community disagrees on whether they are actually miniature horses or ponies.