|The Guide Horse
A non-profit charity dedicated to providing free guides for visually impaired individuals.
Blind Woman Uses Miniature Horse As Guide
Guide Horse Travels With Companion
HOUSTON -- When juvenile diabetes stole a Magnolia woman's eyesight, she chose the species she knows best instead of the more-common dog as her guide animal, Local 2 reported Tuesday.
Donna Grahmann takes her guide horse everywhere.
"I can hear people whisper, 'Look, what is in the store?'" she said. "People have never seen a horse guiding before. They are used to dogs, so it is a new thing for everybody."
Grahmann received Pal, her miniature guide horse, last December."He's 151 pounds and he's 29 1/2 inches tall. That is without his tennis shoes. Those are high-rise," she said.
Before Grahmann lost her sight, she made a name for herself
showing horses, receiving several awards.
Her history with horses made her the perfect match for Pal. The Guide Horse Foundation gave her Pal for free, making Grahmann the second person in the world to have a miniature horse as a guide.
"Thank God that I was chosen to receive Pal. It's been an uplifting event in my life to have a horse back in my life again," she said.Pal lives in a barn with a companion horse named Breezy and spends a few hours each day playing in the pasture.
When "on duty," two things are sure to get Pal's attention -- being called a donkey and the sound of a mint being unwrapped."He is the only horse we know of that will actually suck on a mint," Grahmann said.
For Grahmann, she said she once again has the taste of freedom.
"It is a sense of being out on your own again," she said.Grahmann also gets to travel with Pal. With help from Continental Airlines, she and Pal have flown on two flights east.
Miniature horse guide animals work well for people who have a fear of dogs or allergies.They also live longer. The typical dog's lifespan is 10 to 15 years, while a miniature horse can live 30 to 40 years.
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