Guide horses are a great alternative to the traditional guide dogs for the visually impaired. In the photo above, Ann Edie is guided from a bus by her miniature horse, Panda.
The Guide Horse Foundation was founded in 1999 as an experimental program to access the abilities of miniature horses as assistance animals. There is a critical shortage of guide animals for the blind.
In early experiments, Guide Horses have shown great promise as a mobility option, and people who have tried Guide Horses report that the Guide Horses perform exceptionally well at keeping their person safe. These friendly horses provide an experimental alternative mobility option for blind people. People who have tried Guide Horses report that the horses demonstrate excellent judgment and are not easily distracted by crowds and people.
Guide horses are not for everyone, but there is a strong demand for Guide Horses among blind horse lovers, those who are allergic to dogs, and those who want a guide animal with a longer lifespan.
An international poll by the Discovery Channel showed that 27% of respondents would prefer a Guide Horse if they required a guide animal.