Want Your Own Mini Horse For Emotional Therapy? What It Will Take To Train The Right Mini Horse

Posted on: 29 July 2016

Emotional support animals have quickly become very popular in this country. The significant rise in people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mood disorders has risen, and with it the need to find comfort and solace anywhere you can get it. In addition to mood disorders, developmental disorders such as autism require some type of calming agent and mood stabilizer, things which most parents would choose not to treat with potentially dangerous medications. That is where therapy animals come in, and one of the more unusual and fun animals for this job is the miniature horse. If this interests you, here is what it will take to train the right mini horse.

Screening Miniature Horses for Size and Temperament

Mini horses are real horses, not ponies or dwarfed horses. They are the miniaturized version of a full-sized horse, usually no bigger than a golden retriever. In fact, a lot of mini horses can be trained to alert you to their pottying needs by lightly kicking the door with a hoof, or they can come and go through an extra-large doggy door. Most will sleep in a large dog bed, and even sit next to you like a dog, but they are cute little horses instead. If you want this kind of therapy animal, it first has to be screened for size in order to meet some of the requirements to be a therapy animal. Then the little horse will have to undergo a temperament test by an emotional support animal specialist. If your little horse passes these screenings, he or she can enroll in an emotional support animal certification training program.

The Emotional Support Animal Certification and Training Program

Next, your little horse, and you (or the person for which the support animal is meant to support) will spend several weeks to several months at a facility. (Costs for these programs vary as widely as the pets that are enrolled in the programs, but a mini horse is usually less costly than some more exotic therapy pets.)  You will work with a trainer and specialist who will teach you how to take command of your therapy horse and how to treat your mini horse when he or she is "working." Petting an emotional support animal is part of the little horse's job, but there are rules and expectations for this work too. Once your mini horse has been put through all of the training and the paces, and is deemed ready to be of service, you can return home.

For more information, contact professionals like Next Generation Psychology.