Seeing Eye Horse

I’m obviously supportive of almost anything that will help people with disabilities accomplish normal, everyday tasks, but this is a little ridiculous.

Tabitha Darling is not just a horse trainer, however; she is also legally blind. Though her vision is better than Finefrock’s, Darling relies on the service and friendship of her pony.

Carolyn Finefrock wonders whether the definition of “service animals” is too broad. On this day, Trixie is carrying Darling six miles to downtown Fort Worth. The horse has the route memorized, including a stop at the drive-thru.

“She gives me the independence in getting out there that I need,” Darling said. “Because of that, my life is happier.”

The use of service animals in public is protected under law. But as the variety of service animals has expanded, the federal government is considering limiting use to dogs only, as originally intended.

“It is a very touchy situation,” said Charlotte Steward, an advocate for the rights of the disabled. She is opposed to any changes. “If you need that to feel comfortable or secure in yourself, or to deal with your disability, why shouldn’t you be able to?

“It’s just like using a walker or a cane, in my opinion, to get around in the community,” Steward said.

It’s one thing to debate what should and should not be a service animal while it is working outside. But what happens when a disabled person brings an animal inside a business — and it’s not a dog?

That’s what many folks wonder when Darling rides Trixie inside a Fort Worth Target store.

My question is what happens when her horse has to go #2 in aisle #3?

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