Miniature service horse called Fred takes his first flight

‘I paid an arm and a leg for tickets but I did so because it was Fred’s first time and I wanted him to be comfortable,’ says horse’s handler

Fred the mini service horse goes on his first flight

Cats and dogs are not unusual sights to be spotted on a plane journey in the US.

But one passenger, from Michigan, US, took her miniature horse onboard for his first-ever flight – in first class no less.

The miniature horse, called Fred, is a trained therapy and service horse.

Fred’s handler, Ronica Froese, told local news outlet Fox 17 that the journey from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Ontario, California via Dallas was his first plane journey.

“I spent a year of my life training this horse extensively for what he has and I was totally prepared for everything,” Ms Froese said.

“I purchased two first class seats in bulkhead seating, I paid an arm and a leg for tickets but I did so because it was Fred’s first time and I wanted him to be comfortable, I wanted him to have the most room,” she said.

Footage shared on Fred’s Facebook page shows the pony, dressed in a special service jacket and mask, resting his nose on Ms Froese’s leg while standing in the footwell.

Last year, a passenger hit the headlines for bringing her miniature service horse called Flirty onboard an American Airlines flight from Chicago, Illinois, to Omaha, Nebraska.

The docile pony was captured on video by several passengers standing in the footwell.

In earlier clips the miniature horse is also seen trotting through the airport.

It comes amid a tightening of rules around the use of service animals onboard flights. Last summer, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued new guidelines to clarify that only miniature horses, dogs and cats would be allowed on planes as service animals.

The DOT is also proposing new rules to crack down on passengers who pretend to need an “emotional support animal” simply to avoid paying to fly their pet.

At present, travellers can insist on the right to travel with emotional support animals.

The DOT says: “Passengers have attempted to fly with many different unusual species of animals, such as a peacock, ducks, turkeys, pigs, iguanas, and various other types of animals as emotional support or service animals, causing confusion for airline employees and additional scrutiny for service animal users.”

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