Miniature horse boarded first ever flight – and got full First Class treatment

Flying in First Class tends to be an experience for the rich and famous… and now, miniature horses.

Fred the Mini Service Horse turned heads when he turned left on a recent American Airlines flight, joined by his handler Ronica.

A tasked trained service horse, Fred impressed passengers with his good behaviour, and courteously posed for a few photos too.

His handler Ronica shared photos of their adventures on the adorable miniature horse's Facebook page, including sweet snaps of herself settled into her seat, Fred right by her side.

Ronica told Mirror Online that it was Fred's first time flying – and she was so proud of how he handled the trip.

She said: "Fred was the definition of a PERFECT service animal in flight. Him living in my house and being so used to being inside was a big factor in why he was safe to be on board. While horses are a flight or fight prey animal, I have trained as much of the natural instinct out of him. He is so bonded with me, he is willing to do anything I ask of him."


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She added: "Everyone LOVED him. Pilots, co-pilots, flight attendants, TSA, airport staff and all the passengers were kind."

In fact, a passenger in a seat behind her had asked to take a picture, and told her he had flown over a million miles yet never with a miniature service horse, let alone in First Class.

It's worth noting that Fred isn't a pet, but a tasked trained service animal.

This is also different to an emotional support animal – such as comfort animals and therapy dogs.

Instead, a service animal is trained specially to perform a function or job for someone with a disability.

Currently, only dogs and miniature horses are recognised as service animals.

American Airlines' animal policy allows for these to travel with their handlers, although the airline does "encourage advanced notice" even if this isn't required.


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Fred is house trained and usually goes to the toilet every four to five hours, so Ronica said she "made sure the flights were no longer than three hours for his comfort level".

The duo flew from Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids Michigan, connecting at Dallas/Fort Worth to Ontario in California – so in total, the return journey meant they took four flights.

Ronica ensured that Fred had everything he needed for a comfortable journey of his own, even paying for two First Class tickets.

She revealed: "I purchased two First Class seats in bulkhead seating so he had the most room, and so we didn't bother any other passengers on the plane. I bought a yoga mat to put on the floor for him to stand on for traction with his Equine Fusion Active Horse Shoes from Comfort Hoofs."

There were a couple of hiccups, mainly on the return leg as, waiting in the airport they were unable to find the animal relief area, meaning Ronica had to use a "doggie poo bag" so that Fred could do his business.

The journey itself wasn't particularly daunting for Ronica, who said: "He has ridden probably 10,000 miles in my truck so flying was a breeze. 

"I have trained him to lay down on command and sit it my lap like a dog in the event the plane crashed so we could evacuate down the slide. Luckily we didn't have to see if that training was a success!"

Then there are the people who take pictures of Fred without her permission – a major faux pas which she explains is "extremely rude".

She explained: "We had people wait 30 minutes for us to come out of the bathroom just to snap a picture. We aren't a side show and would like to be treated with respect."

As for his colourful outfit? It was for more than just a stylish travel look.

His handler explained: "He wore the teal sleazy from Star Point Horsemanship that we are 2020 Ambassadors for to be respectful of passengers on the plane with a horse allergy.

"Ironically Murphy's law happened and the first flight attendant on our first flight in first class was allergic to horses and thanked me for him wearing the sleazy!"   

It's not the first time that a miniature horse has been spotted on a flight.

Last year, one passenger turned heads with her service pony Flirty as they boarded the flight and the horse settled into the cabin.

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