In Arizona, Miniature Horses Will Soon Become Service Animals

You’ve probably heard of dogs working as service animals, but what about miniature horses?

According to a local news outlet in Phoenix, one Arizona organization is working on adding this special breed of horses to the roster of service animals for humans with special needs.

Paws 4 Life is a nonprofit organization that aims to serve their community by helping dogs and handlers to bring affordable training and services to their area.

Though the organization has spent the last ten years training dogs, they’ve recently turned their attention to another four-legged creature that they think has great potential as a service being service animal – the miniature horse.

Paws 4 Life has said that they are able to train a miniature horse to perform all the same duties that a service dog can do to help out their owner.

Something as simple as retrieving keys or shoes can go a long way towards helping someone who is partially immobile, but Paws 4 Life can also teach miniature horses to open doors, close cabinets, push and pull wheelchairs and more.

  • After training dogs for a decade, the organization decided to train a different species of animal because miniature horses have a significantly longer life expectancy.
  • Likewise, their expected service ability is about 30 years, whereas a service dog’s is only about 8 to 12.

It takes about a year and a half to train a miniature horse or a dog to be a fully capable service animal.

While miniature horses may not be ideal for people who live in homes with limited space restrictions, the trainers at Paws 4 Life have been able to successfully house train the horses just like dogs.

If this program takes off, it could provide people in need with more stable, long-term options for service animals.