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Why Miniature Horses Make Great Service Animals for the Blind

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When you think about service animals that assist the blind, you probably think about dogs. Although dogs are very common -- and every effective -- service animals for people who are visually impaired, however, there is another popular option -- therapy horses.

The idea of therapy horses might seem a little silly when you think about the sheer size of most equines. However, most service horses that are used to assist the blind are actually miniature horses. Miniature horses are usually quite small, standing at less than 34 to 38 inches tall, which means that they aren't much taller than a large-breed dog.

Believe it or not, miniature horses make great service animals for the blind for many reasons. These are a few things to consider if you are looking for a service animal for yourself or someone you love.

They're a Good Choice When a Dog Isn't a Good Fit

Although many blind individuals find that guide dogs are a good fit for their lifestyles and needs, this isn't always the case. Some people are allergic to dogs but are not allergic to horses. Others have a fear of dogs but are not afraid of horses.

They Live Longer

Once a blind person becomes accustomed to his or her guide animal, it can be heartbreaking if it passes away or becomes too old to provide service any longer. Plus, it can be difficult to find a suitable replacement. This is not as much of a problem with miniature horses, however, because they have a much longer lifespan.

They're Safety-Oriented

Dogs and horses have vastly varying natural instincts. Dogs are predatory animals by nature, while horses are not. Horses are naturally conscious of their surroundings and are always on the lookout for danger, which can be a better fit for a blind person who is unable to watch out for these dangers himself or herself.

They Have Excellent Vision

Did you know that horses have much better vision than dogs do? Horses have a very wide range of vision because of the way that their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads. Unlike dogs and other animals, they have independent eye movement and can actually see different things with each eye, which allows them to watch out for dangerous situations more easily.

They're Easier to Care For

Believe it or not, a miniature horse can be much easier for a blind person to take care of than a dog. Miniature horses only shed twice per year, for example, while many dogs shed all year long. Miniature horses also do not get fleas, which can prevent an infestation within the blind person's home. Although they do require training, just as a dog does, they can be house trained, which many people find to be rather surprising.

They Have Better Endurance

A dog can only walk so far before it will begin to get tired. A miniature horse, on the other hand, can walk for a long time without getting tired, which means that it has better stamina for assisting a blind person.

They're Immediately Recognizable

When people see a person walking with a dog, their initial instinct is often to think that the dog is just a pet. Therefore, the person might not take proper precautions because he or she might not know that the leader is actually blind. People do automatically notice horses, however, and will be more likely to notice that the miniature horse is a service animal for a blind person.

As you can see, a miniature horse can be a far better service animal for a blind person than a dog. If you or someone you care about is looking for a good service animal, it might be a good idea to look into miniature horses rather than dogs.

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