A Miniature Horse as a Service Animal | What Can it Do?

Despite the fact that in most cases dogs are used as service animals, still, almost 10% of the total number of four-legged helpers are other species, together with miniature horses. The Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 updated rules allowing miniature horses to undergo unique training to help people with disabilities.

The legal possibilities for a miniature horse are still bounded in a certain way. However, the laws are regularly changed and updated to allow miniature horses to implement duties and benefit disabled persons the most.

What is the determination of a service animal?determination of a service animal

The term “service dogs” refers to dogs trained for a specific task to be done with someone in their own right for the man who is disabled. The samples of such work or tasks involve leading humans who are blind, alerting persons who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, and protecting a person who is having a seizure.

Service animals are everyday work animals, accordingly, in terms of the convenience of keeping animals, exotic species are not suitable for assistance. The tasks and activities the animal is taught should be linked directly to the disability of the person.

However, miniature horses can handle most of the assignments that service dogs do. Many of these animals become guide horses for people with impaired vision. Also, a miniature horse can be useful for people with mobility dysfunctions or forced to move in wheelchairs. Service miniature horses are quite easy to train, and the biggest problem with these animals is their size and treatment.

You can find more in our article: What is a Service Animal?

Where service animals are allowed

Pets are allowed throughout the United States. Laws protecting the rights of animals and their owners also apply throughout the country. The basic law is ADA. Under the ADA the federal government must let service animals take a person with a disability to the place where they can be transported in a manner that is regulated.

In some hospitals, for example, it may not be necessary to remove service animals from the patient’s room. It can also become useful to remove a service animal from a sterile environment if there are any contaminating substances.

In addition, service animals can accompany their owners in any public place. They can also live with their owner at no extra charge. However, each state has the right to establish its own local laws, which can both expand and narrow the sphere of influence of service animals.

Why a miniature horse?

miniature horse

A miniature horse is very strong and is therefore suitable for a service animal role. This creature can carry and lift heavy items and are normally between 24 and 34 inches in height. Due to its strength and endurance, a miniature horse can help people who cannot walk or have vestibular disorders. An animal can not only pull a wheelchair but also be a physical prop for those who are learning to walk.

It is intelligent and possesses excellent eyesight with 350 degrees of peripheral vision which makes it a perfect animal for guiding and protecting blind humans. Miniature horses can perform almost all possible duties of service dogs.

In addition, it is important to remember that by nature, horses are accustomed to living in herds, so they quickly adapt to the habits of their companion. A miniature horse’s presence in the house also significantly improves the psychological state of the owners and makes the atmosphere in the house more favorable for a speedy recovery.

The training process for service horses

The miniature horse is trained according to the same program as the service dog. This program is similar to training police dogs. In general, the whole training process takes about 8 months. During this period, the animal is taught to perform basic tasks and also fulfill 28 primary commands, which are necessary to control the animal. However, after getting acquainted with the future owner, specialists adjust the animal to the requirements and needs of man.

What can they do?

Service horses are trained in the same manner that a dog would work in. Miniature horses have traditionally been known for assisting people who can be blind or have visual inabilities. As guides, they provide excellent help to their owners and thus provide safety as a service animal.

Besides, a miniature horse can be used as a psychiatric service animal that gives the necessary endorsement for humans with psychic maladies. Animals can significantly reduce stress and tension, as well as give their owners pleasant emotions. Therefore, they are often recommended for men suffering from various mental disorders.

Are miniature horses service animals under the ADA?miniature horses service animals

Originally, according to the classification of services animals that were introduced by the federal authorities on March 15, 2011, only can dogs be considered service animals. Yet, miniature horses may be considered exceptions to dogs if they don’t meet a certain standard for the definition. In short, a miniature horse is identified as a service animal when it is specifically trained in order to perform work or certain functions for the profit of humans with dysfunctions.

Therefore, the authorities were forced to permit miniature horses as service animals. And this accommodation in the law refers not only to service miniature horses but also to other animals. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that the comfort and treatment of these creatures are absolutely under the owner’s control. That’s why, choosing a miniature horse as an assistant, you should be familiar with all the features of the animal.


Although not being a very common service animal, miniature horses could be no less useful. They can provide a variety of advantages for their handlers. Yet these animals are more suitable if you are able to meet their particular needs.

So, if you have a written recommendation from the therapist, familiar with the specifics of animals, and want to have a miniature horse as a service animal you may register it on the official website: Service dog registration with ID confirmation.

Be sure that with proper care and attention, these animals can become no less loyal friends than dogs.


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