Miniature Horses Are Making Their Way Into The Service Animal Field
When we speak about service or guide animals we automatically think of a guide dog but soon we will be thinking about another kind of guide animal that is working its way into the field.
Horses, in general, have been used for therapy for years and now they are extending their talents and becoming an option for disabled people to have as a guide animal.
In 2011 miniature horses were officially recognized as service animals in the United States and since then the public has fallen well and truly in love with their calm and docile nature, not to mention the tiny build.
The height and stability of the miniature horses make them ideal for people with mobility problems. They also eliminate the problem for people who are allergic to dogs but require a service animal.
Miniature horses take a bit more training than a dog, but the pay off is worthwhile. Trainers have to make sure that the horses aren’t going to spook at unfamiliar objects. To do this each horse has to endure desensitizing training. They are trained the same way police or military horse would be.
Natural horses are on high alert for danger and always look for the safest ways of doing things as they are prey animals. The little horses have lots of stamina, night vision and 350-degree view which allows them to keep their human safe.
Miniature guide horses aren't for everyone but are becoming increasingly popular due to their longer life span. A dog would typically retire at around 8 years old yet a guide horse can live past 30.
There are four regulations provided by the ADA which work as assessment factors to determine where a miniature horse can enter a facility:
– Whether the miniature horse is housebroken
– If the miniature horse is under control
– If the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s size, weight, and type
– Whether the miniature horse will not compromise safety requirements for safe operation for the whole of the facility and other members of the public
Similar to dogs, horses need to wear a special jacket to let people know that they are working.