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09/13/2013 05:36 pm ET | Updated Sep 15, 2013

'World's Smallest' Horse Stolen In Italy, May Be Held For Ransom

Thieves in Italy may be asking the owner of the "world's smallest" horse to pony up after stealing the steed and potentially holding it for ransom.

The animal was recently stolen from the 47th annual National Horse Show in Città di Castello, located in the country's Umbria region. A representative for the show told The Local that the steed's diminutive stature made him "particularly valuable," leading authorities to speculate he may be held for ransom.

The pint-size pony's petite proportions are particularly problematic, says his owner, Bartolo Messina, because at only 63 centimeters (2 feet) tall, "Charlie" can be easily hidden just about anywhere.

This was no precisely planned heist, either. According to Messina, the world's smallest horse thieves are believed to have cut a hole in the fence surrounding Charlie's enclosure Thursday night then absconded with him through a nearby tobacco field.

"We have been victims of a serious criminal act," an official associated with the horse show told local paper Corriere Dell'Umbria. The official emphasized the event's security, noting they "have always prevented ... similar incidents," and that this "shameful action ... has nothing to do with the horse world and its values."

Not to knock Charlie off his high horse, but a search of the Guinness World Records for the "smallest living horse" reveals the record is currently held by "Thumbelina," a miniature mare that's only 17.5 inches tall.

Watch a video of Charlie at an earlier performance:

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