When most people picture Miniature Horses, they envision companion animals or mounts for small children. Sometimes Miniature Horses serve as driving horses, and they’re also shown in-hand.
But Cuddles the Miniature Horse has a very different type of job. Cuddles helps her owner to see. Cuddles acts as her owner’s eyes, guiding him through stores, on subways, and down sidewalks. Much like a seeing eye dog, Cuddles helps to keep her owner safe, alerting him to obstacles which are in the way and carefully guiding him around them.
As surprising as it may be to see a Miniature Horse walking through a store, Cuddles isn’t the only Miniature Horse guide horse out there. According to the Guide Horse Foundation, there are many reasons why guide horses are sometimes favored over guide dogs. For instance, guide horses can be a solution for people who are allergic to dogs, or who are looking for a guide animal with a longer lifespan. Guide horses are strong enough to provide physical support, such as when helping a person from a chair. They’re also ideal for people who have a fear of dogs. The fact that horses live outside adds to their appeal for people who don’t necessarily want a guide animal living in their homes.