The mini horse will technically be the first guide horse in the UK.
Mohammed Patel is partially blind, and he's also afraid of dogs. This poses a problem since the traditional seeing eye guide around the world happens to be canines. Luckily, Patel was presented with another option. A seeing eye horse.
Patel was introduced to a mini horse named Digby and they already seem to be a good fit. Patel told the Lancashire Telegraph:
"I have always loved horses but it is good to see the benefits to people who are visually impaired."
The mini horse won't be living with Patel in Blackburn, England just yet though. Bigby still has some training to do with handler Katy Smith, who owns K L Pony Therapy. Bigby is currently training with eight other mini horses.
Horses are already used in different therapies and services in the US including guiding the blind and Smith hopes to get a program started in the UK. Horses are hyper empathetic, she explains, and can really help people both emotionally and physically. Plus, they have longer lifespans and can be with their owner longer than a seeing eye dog. Smith says:
"They have a great therapeutic value, they can tell when a person is really unwell. When someone is approaching end of life they seem to know. hey seem to know that a person's breathing has changed and become shallower and they will breathe in sync with them. It's quite humbling to watch."
As for Patel, he is excited to have Bigby help him take clothes out of the washing machine, mop the kitchen, and answer the door. His errands in town may take a little longer though, with an adorable mini horse leading the way...
"I also think I will have to give myself an extra hour to try to get around my daily routine as people will all want to come and see it and touch it," Patel said.
What do you think about a mini seeing eye horse? Tell us in the comments below.
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