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Geoffry the Conqueror. Photo: KATE BASKOVA

HOT TO TROT: Miniature horse ropes in social media herd

A small ginger horse who is hot to trot has conquered more than 260,000 social media followers.
Geoffry the Conqueror, who is currently based at a Waikino farm, has touched the hearts of many around the world for his courage to cross kilometres of coastline, swim in deep water, and tackle bushland.
Owner Rachael Jenks told The Profile the Facebook page that had now roped in more than 260,000 followers since it was established in 2017, was “almost too much for my brain to comprehend”.
“It was definitely unexpected – it was just a thing that some friends had suggested when he used to come to horse camps and stuff and they were like, ‘oh, he’s so cute, you should start a Facebook’,” she said.

“I remember when I got to 200 likes and I was like, oh my gosh that’s so many likes, imagine 200 people in the same room… and now it’s [260,000], that’s almost too much for my brain to comprehend, but it’s cool.”
Rachael said she had also sold calendars featuring images of Geoffry and his “sidekick” Dougal the donkey for four or five years.
“I sold 1000 a couple of years ago, and every year their numbers go up. I send them to America, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and random places I haven’t even heard of,” she said.
Rachael said she assumed the images of Geoffry the Conqueror galloping in New Zealand’s environment won people over.
“People absolutely love the New Zealand scenery and just the freedom that Geoffry represents,” she said.
“In my videos, there’s always a horse or two running free with Geoffry, he’s got his little sidekick, Dougal the donkey, or sometimes my two horses are running free. People just can’t fathom that life if they’re living overseas in apartments or whatever.

“Even if people do own horses, they don’t have the same freedom to run free on beaches, and it’s just that free life that people just love to see, horses running and enjoying what they do.”
Rachael said she purchased Geoffry the Conqueror off Trade Me in 2011 while she was living in her hometown, Katikati.
“I was never allowed a miniature horse, my mum and dad said no, and they went away on holiday for… about four days and I rang up mum to tell her that I saw [Geoffry] on Trade Me,” she said. “I was like ‘you know that miniature horse that is at the neighbours place, it’s on Trade Me, I’m going to buy it’, and they just sort of laughed it off, and they came home and there were little muddy hoofprints through the house.

“They were like, ‘ah, you’ve bought that horse haven’t you’, and I had bought the horse with the emergency $200 they had left me for food.”
Rachael said Geoffry the Conqueror “makes their day” for those who encounter him.
“I’ll be walking along [Waihī Beach] and look back and there’s a child walking along with Geoffry and Dougal,” she said.
“People will comment that [Geoffry has] made my day because if they look like they want to approach, we’ll stop and let them pat them and they’ll say they’re very friendly and give them a scratch.
“I’ve taken them to old people’s homes as well, and all the old people have a story about how they used to ride to school on a horse and ‘there was usually five of us on a horse but much bigger than this horse’, but it absolutely makes their day as well because it keeps the memories for them.”
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