Don’t be surprised if you see a Miniature Horse boarding the subway, walking down a city street or inside an office building. Minis and dogs are now officially the only two types of animal approved as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While not common, Minis have earned a reputation as an alternative to the traditional service dogs. They are highly trainable and can even be housebroken—a requirement for service animals under the ADA. With a lifespan of 30 years, Minis have a much longer working life than dogs. Typically, people using dogs as service animals must find a new dog every ten years or so, which can be an emotionally trying experience.
Minis require more upkeep than dogs since they need more space and remain healthier if they are allowed to eat and go outside throughout the day, rather than just a few times like a dog. Although a handful of Minis are currently working as service animals in the U.S., not just any horse can make the cut. A docile, intelligent temperament is required to ensure the horse’s training is more powerful than its flight instinct, even in hectic urban environments.
To learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, visit www.ADA.gov