The UK is getting it’s first guide pony!
For Mohammed Salim Patel, who lost his vision to a degenerative eye disease, a guide dog wasn’t an option. He tells the Lancashire Telegraph, “…I have a big phobia of dogs that I was not able to work out and it was good when I heard about horses being trained.”
Digby, an 8 month old miniature horse, is being trained to assist Mohammed, and will be able to perform any tasks a guide dog would be asked to do! He has already become something of a celebrity in the UK, even though he won’t be ready to go home until he’s had a few more years of training.
Digby is getting all the socialization a therapy horse will need to properly perform his job in the future, plus a few special privledges he gets to enjoy as the UK’s first guide pony! He has appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Northwest, and has handled both engagements with all the poise and self-control expected of a guide pony.
For now, Digby is still in training with Katy Smith, owner of KL Pony Therapy in the UK. Katy raises therapy horses with the hope of giving people who need a service animal a choice, and helping those with phobias or allergies for whom dogs are not an option. Digby has already met Mohammed, and enjoys the time he gets to spend with his future handler and friend.