The world (and the Internet) loves adorable animal friendships and this one out of central Texas between a piebald dog and her miniature horse doppelganger went viral on TikTok. Meet Skye, a year-old Great Dane and Hot Fudge Sundae, a 12-year-old mini love who have captured hearts everywhere, even landing the darling duo a spot in People magazine.
Owner Ilonka Margis, a horsewoman, content creator and social media influencer who designs horse-themed decals and wood signs, isn’t surprised by the attention. “Seeing the little ones [minis] and Skye together definitely makes people’s day. They’re just fun to see and experience, especially because they’re best friends.”
Margis drives her miniature horses in local parades as well as into town or at the park where they instantly become the centre of attention. Naturally, due to Skye’s unique coat and size she is also a star. “She loves to hug people by wrapping her neck around theirs,” Margis adds.
Margis, who is originally from Germany, keeps five horses, two dogs, two cats and about 20 chickens on her property. She is also married to a retired Army veteran and has two adult children, including a polo playing daughter who is planning to attend vet school, and a college student son whose own TikTok video of his dachshund also went viral (15 million likes in two days!).
Her five horses include Rocket, a retired APHA gelding, Hexe, a miniature horse mare, Ultra Heir, a Georgian Grande (Friesian Saddlebred) mare, and Gallagher, a Friesian. “Gallagher is my main man and knows it. He’s jealous of anyone getting my attention and will pout,” she says.
So how did Fudge and Skye’s cuteness overload come about? It started because Margis felt that Hexe, her first miniature horse, a mare, needed a companion her own size. “So, I got me a Hot Fudge Sundae! Which is literally what I told my husband while he was out of town with my son for a couple of days,” explains Margis. “I had packed up the dogs, picked up my trainer along the way and we got Fudge. He was a show horse and had won a couple of halter classes. I don’t shop horses by papers, but you can tell he has great breeding.”
Fudge was green broke, so Margis ponied him along as she drove the cart with Hexe. “So Hexe did most of the work training him to be a great driving horse.”
As for the dog side of the family (they also have Hershey, an American Cocker Spaniel), their first Great Dane was named Taz who they got from a rescue in 2009; he passed away in May of 2020. “He was the heart of this, as Danes are, and losing him was devastating,” she admits. Then her blacksmith told her about a friend’s Great Dane puppies, and Skye came to join the family. “She was the runt of the litter and so tiny, they didn’t think she would make it,” Margis explains. “We got her in December of 2020 at nine weeks old.”
According to Margis, Skye was “super scared” of the horses when she was a puppy. “I was still able to carry her while she was little and she would hide her face in my neck if I walked anywhere close to the fence where the horses were,” she explains. “Even the minis were scary but after a little while and a few fence meetups she fell in love and now she’s obsessed with them, especially Hot Fudge Sundae and Ultra. Ultra licks Skye’s face any chance she gets and Fudge and her hug it out every single time they get together.”
Skye has grown up and is 31” at the withers, same as the miniature horses. Skye loves to walk next to Fudge while he’s been driven or while he drags the arena or stand next to Margis as she lunges Fudge. The dog also hangs out in the tack room or trailer next to him while Fudge is being groomed or tacked up.
So what makes the Skye-and-Fudge friendship work? Margis says that Fudge is a character who is known as the barn clown. “He’s just super funny; when things don’t go his way, he rolls his neck and that makes his mane flip to the other side,” she explains. “He also sneaks into the thorny bushes to nibble on grass, then gets stuck and I literally have to trim the branches to get him out. He rears when he’s tied and bored and unties the lead rope. He unties my shoes, nibbles on Hexe while ponied or doing groundwork. His goofy character is perfect for a puppy like Skye, I think that’s why they enjoy each other so much.”