Visually Impaired Indian-Origin Man to Become First to Get a Guide Horse in UK

Mohammed Salim Patel will get a horse to guide him as he has a deep fear of dogs.


A UK based Indian origin man, who is suffering from gradual loss of eyesight, will get a horse as his guide animal. He will be the first such person in the country to get have a horse instead of a dog.

According to PTI, 24-year old Mohammed Salim Patel, a BBC journalist based in Lancashire, suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa which has left him with very little eyesight in his right eye and that too will eventually be gone leaving him completely blind in some time.

Usually, people with eyesight problems use dogs to guide them in their day to day lives but this is not the case with Patel. He has a deep fear of dogs due to an incident that took place when he was 9, and because of this fear, concept of a miniature guide horse appealed him, said The Northern Echo.

The newspaper added that Patel, who started losing his vision at age of 15, contacted many organizations and asked them to train a horse for him but was told that it was not possible. Katy Smith, a former carer, who went through injuries in a riding accident, agreed to provide the training therapy.

Digby, who was brought from the U.S. is going through his training sessions. A year of intensive training has meant Digby can use stairs, press the button at a pelican crossing, open a train door, and find post boxes. His will be trained for another two years.

“Digby (guide horse) is still a baby and will be two years old in May 2019. His training will take around two more years, so I expect to be able to bring him home to Blackburn once he’s finished his training,” Patel told PTI.

“There is no rush though, as there would be for a guide dog. Digby will be able to work into his 40s, whereas a guide dog has to retire at the age of eight,” he added.

He also counted other benefits of a horse guide over dog such as their ability to see in dark and their 350-degree vision.

The news agency also reported that Digby has been selected among the finalists of Hero Pet Category of Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons, which are going to be announced on Oct.16. These awards are given to those animals that have made the lives of their owners easy.

Patel’s family has its roots in Gujarat and he loves to visit his cousins living in India and the beautiful cities of the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *