People who require a service animal to assist with a disability usually use a guide dog, but new federal guidelines now permit the use of miniature horses.
A petition sent to the Department of Justice, by owners and trainers of mobility horses, has prompted a change in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
One blind woman, who helped bring about the change in the law, attends classes at both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan with five-year-old Cali (short for Mexicali Rose), who is roughly the size of a large dog.
Since miniature horses live into their late twenties and early thirties, they have a much longer life span than a dog. They are trained as guide animals as opposed to service animals that can turn off lights and perform other household tasks.
They are trained to lead their handlers away from danger and successfully guide them from point A to point B. They are taught to get into cars and onto public transportation, and also to disobey commands that would put their handler in danger.
Although miniature horses are about the same size as a large dog, they need more room than dogs and are more work for owners. They can be house trained and and are as companionable as dogs according to people who work with them.