Two miniature horses. Two very different worlds. The one they call Mini Horse is a TV celebrity. The one they call Wonder Girl toils in anonymity.
Mini Horse lives in California’s Hollywood Hills. Wonder Girl sleeps in a stable.
Mini Horse gets all the laughs. Wonder Girl gets all the tears.

While Mini Horse is busy doing photo shoots for the MTV hit “Rob and Big,” a reality show about the antics of a pro skateboarder, his beefy bodyguard/pal and their pets, Wonder Girl works in the shadows, visiting Orange County, Calif.’s ailing with little fanfare; the Mother Theresa of mini horses.

But here’s the shocking thing: These very different horses have one thing in common (besides being extremely small): Both were raised side by side on the same farm by Kelsey Webber. The Irvine, Calif., teen traded in traditional high school to dedicate her days to breeding miniature horses.

Kelsey found her calling at the age of 8. She returned home one day after lunch with her grandpa with a message for her mom: Grandpa bought me a horse and you have to pay him half.

As expected, this did not go over well with her mom Kelly. But as often happens when moms see their child smile, her vow of revenge faded.

Kelsey couldn’t very well keep an appaloosa in her Irvine backyard. So Shadow went to live with her grandparents, who had recently bought a ranch on an acre and a half of land in Norco, Calif.

Kelsey’s gramma, hounded by debilitating back problems, must ride a cart to get around the ranch. So grandpa bought a miniature horse named Misty that she could tend to while he took care of Shadow. Gramma wasn’t the only one who fell in love.

At Kelsey’s urging, the family bought a few more minis to begin breeding and they renamed the ranch Vandy’s Miniature Horse Farm (after Gramma and Grandpa VanDyke).

When she turned 13, Kelsey began attending Spirit Academy, a prep school in Tustin, Calif., that only required her to show up two days a week, so she could be at
the ranch the rest of the time.

The minis multiplied. And when she turned 14, Kelsey did some soul searching and asked her mom if maybe it was time to share their tiny treasures.

“We felt that we are blessed with a lot and we wanted to give back,” Kelsey says. She turned to Wonder Girl.

At 36 inches, Wonder Girl is the tallest mini on the farm. She is also
the mellowest. A national champion in cart pulling and jumping (she can jump three feet), she is now 10 years old.

Kelsey and Wonder Girl spent months training so that they could visit people in hospitals. To make sure Wonder Girl wouldn’t spook, they argued in front of her, dropped things behind her, trotted dogs up to her, rushed her and put her in elevators. Nothing fazed her.

After getting certified, Kelsey offered Wonder Girl’s services to Hospice Care of the West. Based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., the hospice service puts a lot of heart into finding ways to brighten their patients’ last few months on earth. They have an opera singer, dogs and cats. Wonder Girl, though, is their most requested visitor.

On a recent morning, Kelsey and her mom walk Wonder Girl into Care House, a Santa Ana, Calif., nursing home, where rows of wheelchairs fill an activity room. Men and women, some asleep in their chairs, others holding blankets or baby dolls, are listening to a staff member read current events. They’ve just finished hearing about the Emmys and are about to learn about an earthquake in Indonesia when Wonder Girl walks in, with her giant glassy cartoon eyes and adorably fuzzy ears.

“Oh, look at that,” shouts Carma Wallace, 85. “Let her sit by me, will ya?”

Wonder walks patiently from one wheelchair to the next, stopping to let
each person to nuzzle her, kiss her, pat her and ask her questions. Many of the folks in the room speak different languages. But it seems everyone speaks miniature horse.

“Will it cost me much?” a woman in a pink striped housecoat wants to know.

“No, it’s not gonna cost you anything. She just wants to make you smile,” says Donna Miller, volunteer coordinator for Hospice of the West.

“Oh, bless your heart,” the woman says, kissing Miller’s hand.

A few wheelchairs away, a woman with a white puff of hair and rosy cheeks begins to sob. Her one hand is frozen in a sling. Wonder Girl inches up to her and gently rests her head in the woman’s lap until Kelsey leads her to the next wheelchair where Virginia Knudson is waiting.

“He’s not a dog? He’s a horse?” asks Knudson, 89. “Oh boy!”

It was in 2006, a year after Kelsey and Wonder began visiting hospice
patients, that Vandy’s farm got a call from pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s camp.

He and his oversized bodyguard/pal are the stars of the comedy reality show “Rob and Big.” Their bulldog Meaty had started peeing in the house, convincing the boys he was feeling neglected and in need of a friend.

Rob turned to the Internet where he stumbled onto vandysminihorses.com. The show, which was then in season 2, follows Rob and Big as they visit Vandy’s farm where Kelsey shows them around. Rob falls for a 20-inch foal named Sky and renames him Mini Horse.

“We’re about to go on a long journey together, Mini Horse,” Rob tells his new pet after learning it could live 35 years.

Mini Horse has since made it into all but one episode of the show, which has just been picked up for a third season, and the pet’s naughty antics are a favorite subject of “Rob and Big” fan bloggers.

“Mini Horse … should have his own publicist,” says Jeff Abraham, publicist for the show. “When we do a photo shoot they say, ‘Oh, and by the way, we want Mini Horse in the shoot.’ He’s as much a part of the show as Big or Rob.”

The Webbers have gotten a few hate emails from people in the horse community who think they shouldn’t have sold to Rob and Big (Mini Horse spends a lot of time in the house and the backseat of the car, unlike your average horse), but they say they are confident he is well taken care of.

Kelsey and her mom watch the show every week and give advice over the phone. When Rob wanted to know how to get Mini Horse up and down the three flights of stairs to the front door, the Webbers told them: you don’t. So Rob had switchbacks carved into his hillside.

This year, the minis at Vandy’s farm gave birth to 10 foals, most delivered by Kelsey, who trains with an equine vet. The farm has 41 mini horses now and 14 more on the way this spring.

The question is: Is this town big enough for another mini horse?