The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49105   Message #740717
Posted By: SharonA
02-Jul-02 - 10:49 AM
Thread Name: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
Yes, indeed, poor Rosie. And poor Cheryle (Cherry) King must feel just awful.

This is quite a setback for the guide-horse charities as well. A sad lesson for these charities to learn, that they must be extremely careful to teach people to care properly for their ponies, especially people with no prior experience with horses.

I have to wonder if, after all, ponies are just too sensitive in nature for the task of guiding the blind. In the SONG CHALLENGE! - Part 84 thread, I linked to an article describing a guide horse (perhaps Rosie) who had been frightened by some skateboarders in a Montana "market" area and had kicked at a glass window, fortunately not breaking it or injuring herself. But my thought is that a guide dog is trained not to be "freaked out" by other people's antics.

I have an acquaintance who is blind, and I've driven her and her guide dog home from a couple of songwriters' meetings to which she has traveled by train. Her dog has always been just as placid as could be, on the train and at the meetings and in the car, and has never had an "accident" or needed a doggie-diaper. Even when my car is full of stuff, and the dog has been crammed in wherever she'll fit (last time, it was the passenger-side floor under my friend's legs, breathing on my leg as I drove!), she lies perfectly quietly for those hour-long trips. I just can't imagine trusting a pony to do the same, no matter how docile their reputation! I freely admit that I have no experience with horses or ponies, which contributes to my distrust; maybe it's unfounded, but this story and the Montana story make me doubt the suitability of a pony for the needs of the blind.

It's true that the Guide Horse Foundation (www.guidehorse.com) stresses that guide horses are not for everyone, but I do hope that in the future they'll be absolutely certain that any person to whom they donate a guide pony knows beforehand all there is to know about the nature of ponies and their needs, even down to seemingly innocuous things like learning that you don't keep a halter on a horse.