CAW Blog

The College of Animal Welfare

guide dogs have a new alternative, guide horse
guide dogs have a new alternative, guide horse

We’ve all heard of guide dogs, but have you heard of this new alternative?


More than 7,000 people across the UK rely on guide dogs to help make daily tasks less of a challenge for them. While this is an excellent way to help out individuals in need of assistance, there are occasions when someone needs that assistance but is unable to have a guide dog due to allergies or perhaps a fear of dogs.

So what is the answer?

A guide horse. Yes, you read that right, the first person in the UK is soon to receive a guide horse following specialist training. It will be another two years before the eight month old miniature horse will be able to assist the blind journalist full time, but could be a massive step towards making day-to-day life for him much more manageable, as well as being a friend and companion.

Miniature horses are being taken into some care homes, hospitals and dementia units where it may not be possible to take an assistance dog or in addition, to brighten people’s day and introduce them to potential new companions.

Could they be better than guide dogs?

Many people are now suggesting that having a guide horse could be even better than a guide dog. The reason being because horses have a working life of 30 years, which is around three times longer than a dogs! With guide horses having such a long working life, the stress of having to retrain several dogs over a lifetime and losing your companion is eliminated.

Horses have very good sight and an excellent memory, making training easy and effective. The UK’s first guide horse, Digby, is set to be trained to help his owner cross roads, get to work, take trips to the shops as well as providing him with companionship.

Find out more about the UK’s first guide horse.

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