Meet Digby, The UK’s First Guide Horse

This is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Meet Digby, The UK’s First Guide Horse

by Phoebe Parke |
Updated on

We’re familiar with guide dogs, canines who are trained up to help visually impaired people, but guide horses? Not so much.

If someone is visually impaired and has a phobia of dogs, then guide horses are being trained up to help them, just like a guide dog would do.

Visually impaired BBC journalist Mohammed Salim Patel has a dog phobia and needs help with things like household chores.

So, an eight-month-old American Miniature called Digby is being taught how to help him out.

Two-foot-tall Digby made his first media appearance on BBC Radio Lancashire this week as he met his future owner in Blackburn.

‘I have a condition where I lost my vision and I have come across lots of people who have guide dogs,’ Patel told the Lancashire Telegraph.

‘But 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.

‘I have always loved horses but it is good to see the benefits to people who are visually impaired.’

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But we won’t be seeing Digby out and about just yet, he still has some skills to master.

‘It will be a couple of years before he will be coming to live with me as he has training to do.

‘He needs to get used to being out and about Blackburn. I also think I will have to give myself an extra hour to try to get around my daily routine as people will all want to come and see it and touch it.’

Digby was a huge hit in Blackburn, and tbh we would probably stop in our tracks if we saw a mini horse too.

Horses are great options as assistance animals as they live longer than dogs – up to 50 years, according to Digby’s owner Katy Smith.

‘You may have to have two or three guide dogs and then you have to think about the emotional bond to them.

‘Another thing is that people may have an allergy, phobia or for health reasons and it is a choice for people.’

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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