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Mini Therapy Horses and Cleanup in Public Places

Even mini therapy horses taught to "signal" when they need to relieve themselves might have to pee or poop in public.
shiny mini horse on lawn with facility in background

When mini therapy horses visit facilities the handlers need to be prepared if they need to pee or poop in public. 

Mini therapy horses leave a bit more of a mess than a dog if they need to poop in public. However, therapy service providers travel with equipment to clean up manure. Carrie Brady of Possibilities Farm in New York always has a broom, a large standing dustpan and a container. While she’s always prepared, horses—like dogs—can signal the need to “go.”

“Paddington is very good about signaling when he needs to go to the bathroom," said Brady. "He will paw once with a front hoof to ask to return to the van, and when we walk over to it, he relieves himself. My minis usually urinate and make manure in the van on the way to the site we are visiting so I know I probably have at least an hour after we arrive before they will need to go again.”

Before any session, she visits the sites without the minis. This gives her a chance to scope out the building and find the closest exit to get outside quickly if they signal a need to “go.”

“Since I can't guarantee that they won't 'go' unexpectedly, I also discuss with the site host the possibility of the horse making manure or peeing at the location," she noted. "We make sure we have a cleanup plan in place before every visit.”

Therapy animal handlers have a little bit more leeway than service minis. Assistance animals must follow the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) rule that requires that all service mini horses be potty trained. And horses can be trained to go on command just like dogs. A few years ago, (prior to regulation changes) a handful of service minis accompanied their handlers on airplanes. The airport animal relief station offers one last pit stop as easily for minis as for dogs!

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