horses? That’s right. Miniature horses are the newest trend in guide animals.
Guide horses have an average lifespan of 30 years, making them a good alternative to dogs in some cases. Although they necessarily live outside the house, they have superb eyesight and traffic instincts that make them good companions for sight-challenged rural folks.
The idea hatched in 1998, when Janet and Don Burleson of Kittrell, North Carolina, were riding horses in New York City and Janet noticed how traffic-savvy the horses were. At home, they had a miniature horse, Twinkie, who followed them around like a dog and even rode in their minivan. She thought to train Twinkie, and has since developed a rigorous, eight-month training program that results in the little helpers being able to go into shopping centers and grocery stores … virtually, everything a guide dog can do. They’re even taught to respond to 23 voice commands.
What’s next … miniature Jerseys?? Come on Etta Jane, I know you can do it!