Here’s one for the bizarre story category – Digby the guide horse has undergone training on the Tyne and Wear Metro in order to get him prepared for his new life with a partially sighted person in London. Digby is an American miniature horse and will be the first ever guide horse in Britain when he starts his new job.
The Tyne and Wear Metro was chosen to allow Digby to familisarise himself with the sights and sounds of travelling on a transport system, including the chance to experience trains, stations, ticket gates and lifts. The Metro is already used for the training of guide dogs but obviously this is the first time a guide horse has been seen on the network!
Throughout the visit Digby was supervised by Metro staff and he wore a harness, special “thunderpants” and a special set of booties to protect his hooves.
Chris Carson, Metro Services Director, said: “We were thrilled to help out Digby the guide horse with his training. We’ve loved being involved in such a wonderful and heart-warming story, and our customers have loved it too. We do a lot of guide dog training on Metro, but a guide horse isn’t a sight that we’ve ever seen. It’s brightened up everyone’s day. Digby took all the sights and sounds of the Metro system in his stride. I hope that the training has been of great benefit to Digby and his owner ahead of his big move to London.”
When his training is completed Digby will be given to partially sighted Helena Hird who lives and works in London. Ms Hird wanted a guide horse rather than guide dog because horses live for longer.