By Jamie Smith
A husband and wife have created a unique therapeutic horse farm as a place to train miniature horses as guides for the blind.
Rafi and his wife founded the farm in Israel after first coming across the miniature horse breed on a trip to Belgium.
Rafi said: “I saw how good they were with children and people in need such as elderly and the blind.”
He describes how he knew straight away he had to bring the breed over to Israel to begin working with them and starting training them to become guides for the blind.
Rafi said: “There are many advantages to using guide horses for example people who are allergic to dogs won’t have a problem with horses and while a dog lives for 10 years a horse can live up to 40 years.
“It is not easy training a pony to be a guide horse but it is even harder to change people’s concepts about horses, especially when compared to dogs.”
He has now been working with his little pony, Pandora, for a few months but insists there is still another years worth of training to be done before she is the perfect guide pony.
Rafi takes Pandora everywhere with him so she becomes accustomed to noises and smells, stairs and doorways as well as roads and cars.
He said: “People and children approach her all the time, it’s not every day you see a horse in the supermarket or the library.”