Illustration by Eli Ford, Messiah College
Did you know that miniature horses can be used as a guide animal? The Department of Justice Regulation Implementing Title II of the ADA as of March 15, 2011 allows for their use in certain cases.
The rule defines “service animal” as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. In order to allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of “service animal.”
Mini horses can be trained in a year to 18 months, just like dogs. However, they are useful for about 30 years vs. 12 years for a dog, which makes them cost effective over their life span.