Service Horse Anyone? – 2012

I saw a photo of a miniature horse being used as a service animal on a friend’s Facebook the other night.  So I Googled service horses.  Pretty neat. 

I found quite a bit of info about miniature horses are being used as guide animals.  There is a group called Guide Horse Foundation that has been under operation for over a decade that works to put miniatures into service.  Their site has neat photos of the minis working on planes, escalators, and other out of place locations. 

Some of the advantages I read in various places to using a horse over a dog made a lot of sense.  The biggest one was that miniature horses live between 30-40 years, where a service dog has a working time frame of 8-10 years.  What an incredible advantage to have that time span with an animal that takes so much work and expense to train.  Not to mention the bond formed between a person and their service animal.  

It was also mentioned that service horses are agile, eager to learn and please, easily trainable, have great eye sight and tend to be focused.  They are also sturdy and strong and can help a person balance more than a dog.  I also read mention that people allergic to dogs might choose a horse as an alternative.  

I also ran across this video of a young (they mention 10 months old) miniature horse named Panda being clicker trained as a service animal.  Pretty neat.  The video is long but really interesting and pretty incredible. 

Watch Panda being trained to be a serive horse

Panda is now a working guide horse with her person, Ann.  She has been on the Rachel Ray Show and done a lot of publicity work for guide horses. 

How neat. 


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