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Undertoad 03-22-2004 03:52 PM

3/22/2004: Guide pony

Sometimes I'm short on Friday images, and sometimes I have too many as is the case now - so one will sneak out early. This one is almost too Fridayish. It turns out that a few blind people (er, visually challenged??) are starting to switch from guide dogs to guide ponies. They say that one advantage is that ponies have a lifespan of 40 years, so you don't have to get used to 3-4 different ones over their lifetimes and yours. On the other hand, they had better be house trained or take to diapering. I don't think the malls will be happy to clean up what this thing might put out.

Still, I'm not blind and I want one. Look at the wittle shoesies!

Leah 03-22-2004 04:13 PM

Can I buy one on Credit? I want one so much.:joylove:

poohbearbeth 03-22-2004 04:43 PM

What will they think of next
Can't she read--it clearly says do not touch--
Oh Just kidding:p

lumberjim 03-22-2004 04:51 PM

I don;t know about this. At first glance, i thought this was going to be about a record smallest horse. that thing is even tiny for a pony. where did you come by this photo? i think dogs may have the advantage of barking, growling, and otherwise communicating aurally with their masters. I know horses are smart, but, i question how effective they could be in this capacity. did you check this for validity? Has anyone ever seen one of these ponies in use?

or is this just one wierd "horse person" that happens to be unsighted?

i'm skeptical

lumberjim 03-22-2004 04:55 PM

ok, i did my own homework for once and it appears to be legit.

i don't think you'd be taken very seriously, but they DO seem to have merit. neat.

lumberjim 03-22-2004 05:02 PM

seeing eye pachyderms:

dar512 03-22-2004 05:13 PM

Re: 3/22/2004: Guide pony

Originally posted by Undertoad

On the other hand, they had better be house trained or take to diapering. I don't think the malls will be happy to clean up what this thing might put out.

It looks like they can.


From the website LJ found:

Can Guide Horses be housebroken?

Yes. A Guide Horse can be housebroken. When they need relief, the horses are trained to paw at the door or make nickering noises. After indoor training, the Guide Horse can be relied upon not to have accidents. Horses that fail the housebreaking lessons are removed from the program.

Happy Monkey 03-22-2004 05:18 PM

I wonder if their hooves are just too small to take horseshoes, or if they just think the pony-sneakers are cute.

lumberjim 03-22-2004 05:21 PM

there was a reference to those sneakers on another site that linked nack to the one i found, but whne i went back and looked, the answer was not obvious.


Yes, that's a blind dude being led around by a miniature horse. Of course far be it from me to ask why one would use a horse as apposed to, say, a dog but that's probably the same reason I watch my 401k spiral the drain month after month. Luckily for me there is a site that answers all my silly questions, including why the horses wear sneakers.

poohbearbeth 03-22-2004 05:50 PM

Now we have Cats for the blind

poohbearbeth 03-22-2004 05:55 PM

I do have work to do, really!

Happy Monkey 03-22-2004 06:17 PM

Here's the FAQ, with the sneaker question, but I guess my real question was why they're in sneaker form rather than shoe form. Maybe soft soles work much better if they have a slightly larger footprint than the foot itself. And maybe they want the soft soles to be removeable.

xoxoxoBruce 03-22-2004 09:45 PM

It's a little tough taking muddy horseshoes off on the porch. Especially if you're blind.;)

quzah 03-22-2004 11:38 PM

It's hard ehough to walk through someone's yard who has a large dog, without stepping in... something. :turd: Now imagine you're blind :cool:, and instead of a dog, you have a horse.


wolf 03-23-2004 01:37 AM

I'm a little surprised at this.

Yes, Falabella ponies are as cute as cute can be ...

But horses, generally, are dumb as posts. Even the smart ones.

They also have a tendency to panic and run first, and start thinking after their slow little brains catch up with the rest of their bodies. This works well for them in the wild, but less so around humans. (Anyone who has ever ridden a horse which shies and bolts knows exactly what I'm talking about here.)

My guess on the cute little shoesies is this ...

Horse hooves are adapted for walking and running on grassy areas.

The reason that we shoe horses (with metal horseshoes) is to keep the hoof intact on a variety of substances. Horse's hooves are apt to split and crack.

They are like our toenails and keep growing ... part of the farrier's job is to keep them trimmed.

Okay, none of this really relates to the cute horsie sneakers ... but, if you have ever tried to walk a horse over a surface other than grass, or that is a little slick ... they tend to scrabble around and fall over. This is not as big a deal with something the size of a Falabella, but with a 16+ hand horse, you got yourself a major problem.

I had a horse fall on me under similar circumstances. He and I both ended up being okay, but it was quite scary.

I wouldn't think that a horse would be a good choice for a blind person also, on account of how sensitive a horse's feet can be ... even minor damage to the frog (soft bit in the center of the underside of the foot) can make the horse lame ... and this includes getting a stone lodged between the wall of the hoof and the frog. It's something you realize fairly soon when you're riding, but might go unnoticed for some time by someone not able to observe the animal's gait.

So ... I guess my shorter answer would be the purpose of the shoes is for traction, protection of the hoof, and to cut down on the "clip clop" noise.

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