Ten Misconceptions About Horseback Riding Clarified

Ten Misconceptions About Horseback Riding Clarified

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Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

For those of you who have considered riding in the past or are considering it now, here is some information that I think will be valuable to you. There are a lot of common misconceptions about horseback riding and the horse community in general, some of which might discourage someone who was considering giving it a try.

I have had a wide array of experience with horses, but my niche involves giving beginners and new people a fun, safe introduction to the horse world. My goal is to break down those misconceptions so that the horse world seems inviting to anyone who would like to try to get involved.

Misconception #1: It's Only for the Elite

Riding horses is an activity for those in the upper echelon "elite" part of society. When you say horses, they envision Prince William, Kate, and the kids at a polo match. Maybe they envision the big hats on Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

If you relied on the media, I can see how this might be how you would see the horse world. The truth is that horses are not only for the rich and famous, and those polo matches and million-dollar horse races you see are just a smidgen of what the horse world has to offer.

The other way people see horseback riding is in the more cowboy sort of rough and ready way, sort of like the old Marlboro Cigarette commercials on television. That makes it look super rough and rugged. (Also, not the most appealing, especially for an adult amateur or someone with a kid who wants to try lessons.)

The reality of it falls somewhere in the middle. There are nice family-oriented lesson barns all over the country, where "normal" families bring their kids to learn to ride. You don't have to be a millionaire or be friends with the Dutchess of York.

Misconception #2: It's Unaffordable

Horseback riding lessons are too expensive?! I have found from talking with our clients who have children involved in other sports and activities that our lesson program is comparable in cost to many of the other activities available like dancing, gymnastics, karate, etc.

Obviously, the prices will vary depending on where you live and the facility, and the type of clientele they cater to. I think if you did some research on facilities specializing in beginner riders, you will find the prices reasonable.

Also, aside from a helmet (some farms will even let you borrow helmets) and boots, you are not expected to purchase a ton of equipment to get started with lessons. You can easily find consignment tack shops or even reasonably priced basic helmets and boots on Amazon. You can get an approved helmet and boots for well under $100.

If you end up not liking riding after all or your child doesn't, again you can find consignment shops and sell the equipment or post on craigslist also. Many barns also will let you sell your outgrown or lightly used equipment to other riders at the farm.

Misconception #3: It's Not Exercise

You don't get any exercise riding horses since the horse does all the work. Nope! Definitely not true. Riding involves body control, muscle memory, and core strength, just to name a few. It is most definitely good exercise, especially when you do it regularly.

New riders are almost always shocked at all the muscles they used when they ride and how much more work it is than it looks, even just the beginning stages of learning position, stopping, and steering.

Plus, if you ride at my barn (most barns really), you will groom and tack (put the equipment on your horse) which is physical exercise before you even get on to ride!

The horse does do his job, but your job of telling him what to do is physical exercise and a good all-around workout if I do say so myself.

Misconception #4: It's Not a Sport

Riding is not a sport? It most certainly is! Going along with misconception #3, good riders are athletes and work hard to get good at their discipline of choice.

Though on the lower levels you don't see as many team competitions, there are most certainly local show series that are affordable for those that are interested in competition.

Equestrian sports are included in the Olympics. If it wasn't a sport, it wouldn't be in the Olympics. Show Jumping, dressage, eventing, vaulting, and reining are featured Olympic sports.

For those that don't want to consider riding a sport, think of it this way. Your horse is your teammate, he or she probably weighs at least a thousand pounds, has his or her own brain, and speaks a totally different language than you.

It is hard work, it takes skill, physical strength and coordination, and a whole bunch of determination. It is a sport!

Misconception #5: You Have to Start Riding Early

You have to ride as a kid. It isn't something you start later in life. WRONG! I have many adult students who finally have the means to afford lessons or the free time since their kids are all grown. You can start riding at any age. It is not just for kids.

Most farms will offer private lessons for adults or group lessons with adult beginners together, to make new riders feel more comfortable.

Misconception #6: It's Just a Phase

Riding horses is just a phase that all little girls go through and then discover boys and give it up. While there are some kids who try riding and discover it is not for them, to say it is just a phase for all little girls is not true.

I have taught many enthusiastic little 4 and 5-year-olds that keep riding throughout their grade school careers and even end up buying a horse of their own or continuing to ride in college. It is a lifetime activity for many.

Misconception #7: You Have to Buy a Horse

Eventually, you will have to buy your own horse. Nope! Not true! Many riders just enjoy their weekly lesson on the barn's horse and don't make the commitment to own a horse.

For those who want more riding time without the extra financial responsibility of ownership, many people lease horses. Leases are done on a variety of different terms, and the cost varies. Leasing is an option for more riding time or barn time without buying a horse of your own.

Misconception #8: It's Dangerous

It's dangerous. Okay, yes, there is an element of danger involved when dealing with thousand-pound animals. That is why if you decide to pursue riding, you do your research and find a farm that specializes in new riders. They will have appropriate beginner horses for you to learn on. I know that my barn is filled with horses that are as close to perfectly safe as you can get when you are dealing with an animal that can think for its self.

These barns, with these types of horses, are all over the country—you just have to do your research and find them.

A good beginner instructor is not only teaching you how to ride, but also how to be safe around horses on the ground and how to understand the nature of the horse. The more we understand their behavior, the safer we are around them.

All athletic endeavors involve some level of risk, it comes with the territory, and riding is no different. In the right program, with the right trainers and horses, the danger of injury in riding lessons I believe is kept to a minimum and equivalent to any other athletic sport that you might choose to pursue.

Misconception #9: Trail Riding Equals Expertise

You already know how to ride because you have ridden a trail horse on a trip. Many vacation spots have horseback riding offered. Riding a trail horse on one of these trips is not really riding. Trail horses are a whole different mindset. Horses that take inexperienced riders on trail rides basically just follow the tail in front of them. They go down the trail, so you think you are in control. The reality is the trail horse was just doing his job and taking you on a ride. So, despite how many of these types of trail rides you have been on, that does not mean you are an "experienced" rider.

Misconception #10: It's Just for Girls

Riding lessons are for little girls and boys don't take riding lessons. Though you will normally find more girls than boys in lessons, this is also a misconception. We have had many little boys come for lessons and summer camp, so it is not "just for girls."

Interestingly enough at the upper levels of riding, there are more men than women, or at least just as many. They had to learn somewhere!

© 2018 Ellison Hartley

General Must-Know Facts

  • Around 75 million horses are alive in the world today.
  • China has not only the most people on the planet but also the most horses, with around ten million alive there today.
  • There are more than 350 separate breeds.
  • A female older than four years old is called a mare a male older than four is a stallion.
  • A father horse is called a sire. A mother is called a dam.
  • A castrated male is called a gelding.
  • Any horse under 14.2 hands high is technically a pony.
  • Horses are measured in hands and fingers. A hand is four inches in length.
  • Their scientific name is Equus caballus. Equus comes from the Greek word for ‘quickness’.
  • Horses have four different gaits: walking, trotting cantering and galloping. The fastest gait is the gallop.

Horseback Riding: Fantasy vs. Reality

    Olivia Folker , Neighbor

The reality of owning and caring for horses is often overlooked in the romanticized version of what people think. If you ask anyone involved in the hobby of horseback riding, they will all tell you the same thing: it's a lot of responsibility.

"While owning a horse is an amazing experience, it is a lot of hard work" Pat Haines, owner of SJ Riding Camp in Ellington, said. "It is a huge amount of work simply caring for a horse, let alone the time riding."

SJ Riding Camp is a place for young girls to learn more about horses, improve riding skills and take on the responsibilities of horse care. Most summers, over 200 campers participate throughout the summer with a staff of 25 horse enthusiasts.

Heather Hollay-Farr, a trainer and owner of Hollywood Equine, stresses the time and dedication required for general responsibilities of caring for a horse.

"Cleaning is number one," she said. "Feeding would be number two. Horses eat a lot, which brings you back to responsibility one. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and get dirty if you want to care for horses."

Hollay-Farr also mentioned training, veterinarians and farrier (a specialist in hoof care) are also very important aspects to consider.

Hollywood Equine was founded in Ellington in the early '70s with the purchase of 14 acres. The farm is now home to a large arena, an outdoor ring and boarder stalls. An average of 50 people per week use the facilities, and Hollywood Equine recently formed a team to compete on the Interscholastic Equestrian Association scene.

Kelly Glogowski, 22, has been riding horses since she was 10, and despite all of the hard work, it would be an understatement to say she loves caring for and riding horses.

"It's in your blood," she said. "When you start riding, either you've got it or you don't. When I started lessons, I was hooked."

Glogowski helps care for the six horses at Laurie Gundlach's farm in Somers and has been training horses since she was 12. Her responsibilities include feeding the horses four times a day (grain twice and hay twice), cleaning the horses and riding them. Her favorite horse at Gundlach's is a 14-year-old named Monty.

"This is why I've been jacked since I was 10," Glogowski said as she was carrying water to the horses in 5-gallon buckets, two at a time.

In addition to caring for a horse, the animals need exercise. The horses at Gundlach's farm are ridden once a day and frequently walked. They have large stalls that are open to yards for a spacious, contained area. The horses are also often let out to pasture.

"It's important that they have a lot of pace," Glogowski said. "All of our horses are in shape. We make sure we work them, but if we work them hard one day, the next day will be a really light day."

It is important to familiarize yourself with the horse you are going to be riding because "horses are much bigger and stronger than humans, and one cannot forget they do have a mind of their own," said Haines.

Some of the best places to ride in Connecticut, according to Haines, Hollay-Farr and Glogowski include Tyrone Farm in Pomfret.

Glogowski prefers to ride in open fields, where you can develop better skill, she says because you have more inclines and natural elements to deal with instead of a flat dirt circle.

Hollay-Farr also likes to ride in horse shows and competitions.

"Many people think of trail and pleasure riding as the only type of riding," she said. "Horse shows and competitions are a great way to enjoy not only the beauty and intelligence of the horse, but their superior athleticism with the thrill of competition."

A couple of fun facts about horses shared by Glogowski:

  • A horseshoe should never be hung upside-down because the luck will fall out, and
  • If you blow into a horse's nose and it blows back, that means you're friends.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Basics: 6 Misconceptions in the Horse Industry

If you are like me, you grew up with such books and movies as Black Beauty, Mr. Ed, My Friend Flicka, and The Black Stallion. Even now a days, movies such as the Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, and Troy make the horses seem calm, trusting, very well behaved and willing to do what the rider wants. These horses did not step on their human counterpart's toes, bite them, kick them, rear, or buck while not on cue. They didn't move away from their rider when being mounted, or think that the leaf that just blew across their path was a scary horse-eating leaf, thus spinning and running like the wind. Nope, these horses were exemplary models.

Needless to say, these are not the kinds of horses that you will find at your nearby livestock auction for less than $500. The kind of horse described above is in the $7,000 to $15,000 range. Which is why many new horse owners have their bubbles burst when they finally do get a horse. They think that all horses will be like the fiction or movie version and so their dream will eventually turn into a nightmare (. unless they are the 1% that is lucky).

Here is a lovely list of 6 misconceptions and their truths within the horse industry:

1. Misconception: Horses are like big dogs.

Truth: Other than the obvious size difference, horses are not like dogs in any way, shape or fashion. Dogs are predatory animals, horses are prey animals. Totally different mindset. If a horse views something low to the ground that is moving toward it, the horse's fight or flight response kicks in. These are its prey instincts. More often than not, the horse will turn tail and run as fast as it can. The dog on the other hand will, more often then not, be surprised by said object but then go and check it out. There is no fight or flight response, as it is a predatory animal. Dogs and humans also have a variety of common interests, such as a warm bed, survival by hunting, pack behavior, and sharing (sometimes) a taste for the same foods. Horses are herbivores, have a herd mentality, and aren't as connected to humans as we may think.

2. Misconception: Horses are cheap to own.

Truth: First off, good horses don't come cheap. I stated earlier that you can go to the auction and pick one up for $500. But this will probably be a horse that needs some major work done. A good, healthy, well-trained horse can be anywhere from $2,500 to over $50k depending on what training it has, what its body score is and what you are looking to do with it. After you buy the lovely animal. you are going to need to keep it somewhere. Depending on the area, a person can pasture board on their own property (plus the cost of hay), or there are boarding barns. Most people board their horse. This ranges between $3,000 to $12,000 annually. After the horse is all cozy in his or her stall, you have to take care of the horse. That is veterinary costs, farrier costs, etc, which can easily top $2,000 annually. Beyond that, there are tack and equipment costs, riding lesson costs, riding clothes, oh and possibly your own medical bills. All in all, when it all adds up, horses are expensive.

3. Misconception: Horses are easy keepers.

Truth: Okay, this is a half truth. There are some horses out there that are easy keepers. But not all, as not all horses will thrive off of just being left in a pasture. The owner has to take into consideration the body mass of the horse, (Click here for the Henneke scale) what the horse is eating, how much he is being given and at what intervals. There are a number of different types of grains and hays that a horse can have providing different nutrients, but which must be given in the correct doses in order to have a balanced horse.

3. Misconception: Slaughter solves everything.

Truth: Hahaha, I love this one. Ever since Bush shut down the slaughter plants through American 'will play', factions of the horse industry have been in uproar. "There is no place to take our unwanted horses," they say, or "the price of the horse has gone down because of over-abundance". Or even "there are so many unwanted horses, abuse has skyrocketed, and slaughter needs to come back." Well, the real problem here is over-breeding. That's right people, the horse industry doesn't know how to control it's breeding problem (kind of like the rabbit analogy). We have registered breeders, backyard breeders, breeders from other countries. They are everywhere, and breeding everything!! Did you know that, even though slaughter plants closed in America, the same quantity of horses being slaughtered is still pretty much the same?! (I'll do another post on this later. ) The only difference is that horses are being shipped to either Canada or Mexico. So, really slaughter does not solve anything. Restrictions on breeding solves a whole lot more.

4. Misconception: If it is pretty, breed it.

Truth: This one kind of goes hand in hand with what was stated in the slaughter misconception and over-breeding. It is seen mostly with backyard breeders, or those people that do not have a breed affiliation (aka AQHA, APHA, AHA, etc) and will just breed to produce "color" or "personality". Although as stated, it is mainly seen in the backyard breeders, it can be observed within breed affiliations as well. The problem with this is the ever present over-breeding problem. Once one is born, breeders want more, because of the color or just because they are cute. This cycle continues until the person has way more than they can keep. But, the horse produced will only have good "color" or the like, yet nothing in the way of good conformation or skills. This means that they aren't sought after as they will not do well in the show ring and usually end up at auction.

5. Misconception: Horses are stupid.

Truth: Just because you cannot get your horse to do something does not mean they are stupid. It just means that they don't understand. Have you ever tried talking to someone but because you didn't speak their language, you got frustrated? This same thing happens between horse ad rider! We as riders have to learn their language and communicate efficiently in order to get them to do what we want.

6. And finally, Misconception: Anyone can ride a horse.

Truth: Riding is more than just sitting on a horse. There are muscles that you use when riding a horse that you normally wouldn't use when walking, sitting, or running. Really good riders make riding look easy. Just watch Dressage riders, or Western Reiners, and it looks as if the horse is following the intricate patterns of its own accord. But it all has to do with signals and cues between the rider and horse. A language all their own. It may look like sitting, but riders use their legs, arms, weight, balance, core, hands, back, and brains to ride. The better the rider, the more inconspicuous the language between horse and rider.

Can you think of any other misconceptions and their truths?

8 Misconceptions About Therapy, Service, and Support Animals


Susan Winston, who writes the Psychology Today blog Shift Happens, recently asked in this post "Why are there more service dogs than ever?" It's a great question, and I think she is right. There has been a proliferation of animals sporting vests proclaiming “Service Dog,” “Emotional Support Animal,” and even “Seizure Alert Dog” vests. Unfortunately, however, her answer contained some significant errors.

For example, Winston wrote, “There is an official registry for those looking to qualify their dogs for service.” And she told her readers “But now there are websites where one can go and for a moderate fee will be provided with an official certificate and I.D., a dog vest, collar and tags that must be shown at airports and other facilities.”

Both statements are incorrect. Surprisingly, there is not a federally recognized registry for service dogs. Indeed, there is no legal certification process for any type of assistance animal. Winston was correct when she stated there are internet websites where readers can purchase service dog vests and official-looking registration papers. But assistance animals do not need to wear a vest or have any kind of identification.

A bigger problem is that the internet registry sites she refers to are scams. In 2015, the Department of Justice issued a statement of concern over the growth of phony on-line service animal certification and registration documents: “These documents do not convey any rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.” When I asked a Justice Department official about these internet service animal registries, she replied “They are frauds.”

Misconceptions about Service and Therapy Animals

Misunderstandings concerning the laws governing assistance animals are certainly understandable. That's because federal regulations pertaining to service and support animals are a morass of confusion. Here are answers to some common questions about the legal status of assistance animals.

What federal legislation covers assistance animals?

Assistance animals fall under the auspices of three different federal agencies.The Americans with Disabilities Act is administered by the Justice Department and covers access of service animals to public places such as restaurants, train stations, and hospitals. The Air Carrier Access Act falls under the Department of Transportation. These rules pertain to the right to have service and emotional support animals accompany passengers with psychiatric problems on commercial airplanes. Access of assistance animals to rental housing, apartments and condos is regulated through the Fair Housing Act under the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What is the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, only dogs (and, in a few special circumstances, miniature horses) are considered service animals.These regulations also stipulate that service animals are not pets. Rather, they are specially trained animals who perform specific tasks. These include, for example, guide dogs for the blind, seizure alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs trained to sense the onset of a PTSD-related panic attack. In contrast, the Air Carrier Transport Act and the Fair Housing Act recognize the right to have "emotional support animals." These animals can be pets. They must, however, be need by their owner to alleviate the symptoms of a mental disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

This is a generic term referring to creatures involved in animal assisted therapies for psychological or physical disorders. They can range from dog visitations in hospitals to therapeutic horseback riding and swim-with-dolphins programs. Therapy animals may or may not be specially trained. The important part is that, unlike service animals and emotional support animals, therapy animals have no legal standing under either the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, or the Air Carrier Transport Act.

Do assistance animals need to wear a vest? Do their owners need to carry official identification papers in order to have access to public places such as restaurants, train stations, and hospitals?

No. There is no federal or state mandatory certification process. Neither service animals nor emotional support animals are required to wear vests.

Can my boa constrictor be a service animal if she helps me sense the onset of a seizure?

No. Only dogs and miniature horses can be service animals. However, under the Air Carrier Access Act and under the Fair Housing Act your snake might qualify as an emotional support animal. This would give her access to free air travel and enable her to live in no-pets housing. But you will need a letter from a “licensed mental health professional” attesting to your psychological problem. The feds, however, give airlines flexibility in how they administer access for animals on airplanes. So you should call your air carrier before showing up at the airport with an Irish wolfhound or a potbellied pig. (Questionable emotional support letters are surprisingly easy to get over the internet.For a hilarious account of how writer Patricia Marx obtained a fake emotional support animal letter for a snake and used it to get free air travel for a turkey and an alpaca, see this New Yorker article or watch this short video.)

Do I have to reveal the nature of my disorder in order bring my psychiatric service dog into a no-pets restaurant?

No. By federal law, you can only be asked two questions about your service dog: (1) “Does your dog provide a service?” and (2) “What is your dog trained to do?”

What if a restaurant owner insists on proof that my service dog is trained?

They have to take your word for it. Tell the owners they are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and that you can take them to court.

Can I get into trouble if purchase a fake service animal vest or a bogus registration certificate over the internet and pass my pet off as a service dog so I can get into bars and restaurants?

It depends on where you live. In California a person caught fraudulently claiming their pet is a service animal faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. About a third of the states have enacted anti-fake service animal legislation. But because there is no legally recognized certification process for either service or emotional support animals these laws are nearly impossible to enforce.

For more on animal assisted therapy and support animals, see these Animals and Us posts:

  • Stress Relief Doggie Style (here)
  • The Effects of Animals on Children with Autism (here)
  • Does Animal Assisted Therapy Really Work (here)
  • Service Animal Scams: A Growing Problem (here)
  • Does Dolphin Therapy Work? (here)

Hal Herzog is Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University. He is the author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard To Think Straight About Animals.

The law needs to be changed

The law needs to be changed to end the 'emotional support" scam.

I've been in restaurants where these scammers bring their pets that crap on the floor and need a bath.

Restaurants should be allowed to refuse service to smelly, unkempt animals.

I agree with Wally, I think some people are scammers

On a recent plane flight, a few months ago I chose to pay extra for an extra-roomy seat in my section it was one of the only pair in that section, and the aisle seat was empty.

Across the aisle from me in regular-sized seats, sat a couple, and they had a dog with them wearing a vest that said "service dog."

This couple asked the flight attendant to ask me to trade seats with them, so their dog would have more room. I was open to the idea, if I could get reimbursed for the extra money it had cost me to acquire that roomier seat. I asked the flight attendant if the airline would reimburse me for giving up my seat, and she said "No."

I noticed that there were empty seats in business class I asked the flight attendant if the couple could just move into those empty seats? "No", she said, "That's not doable."

So, I offered that the couple could put their dog in the empty floor space of the seat next to me. They declined. "He has to sit with us," said the man.

I offered that one of them could take the empty aisle seat next to me, with the dog (who would have roomier floor space) so the couple could be sitting across the narrow aisle from each other. "No, that wouldn't work" he said.

When we'd reached our destination and were exiting the plane, I let the couple and their dog go ahead of me.

I noticed that the "service dog" did not appear to be trained to follow even simple commands, was rather poorly-groomed and a little smelly. Neither the man nor the woman were blind, so, the nature of their need for a service dog was unclear.

So it made me wonder, what kind of "service dog" doesn't even respond to simple commands like "sit", "stay", "come", or "no" and is not well groomed and kind of smelly?

I now think that couple may have been pulling a scam. I'm willing to bet that that was just their regular pet dog, not a service dog, and they were just trying to play the sympathy card to get upgraded seats without paying for them.

And like Wally, I don't want to eat dinner at a restaurant sitting near a very smelly dog who may or may not pee, poop or throw up on the floor I think I would lose my dinner.

There should be more regulation for this kind of thing, so that the grifters and scammers won't take advantage of it.

Please try to keep in mind

Please try to keep in mind that many people with service animals have invisible disabilities. While in your situation it seemed like their service animal may have been fake (and sure, some of them are) it is still unwise to judge their handlers ableness or lack thereof on how they look. If you saw me as I am sitting by my desk you would say something similar about me, I do in fact look quite healthy. However, I have a genetic mutation that causes my connective tissues (that is. all my connective tissues) to be far stretchier than they should be. This leads to migraines, very low blood pressure that regularly leads to fainting, regular joint dislocation/subluxation, skin tearing and bleeding, random allergic reactions to random things (this one sucks have you ever gone into anaphylaxis over tap water? don't try it.), and joint hypermobility (the big ouch). So my service dog literally keeps me in one piece, conscious, and out of ripping pain. But I look fine.

Please don't see this as a telling off. Just a reminder that sometimes you can't see someone's disability until it causes a medical emergency and it's often our dogs' job to keep you from seeing that emergency.

Service animals

if I ever have a "service snake" next to me on a plane, I will then need therapy for the Rest of My Life! Yikes!

This article was good, but

This article was good, but not complete. It is actually very easy to tell if an animal is a Service Animal. It is the training that makes the difference. You are correct about the two questions covered entities may ask, but you left out when a Service Animal may be denied access. A Service Dog must be trained in tasks and/or work to mitigate a disability. A Service Dog must be under the handlers control at all times. This means that the dog must be housebroken, must be highly trained in obedience and public access, cannot be disruptive or aggressive. Service Dogs must be on the floor or in a sling carrier. Service Dogs cannot fundamentally alter the functioning of the covered entity. If the dog is not under control, is disruptive, aggressive, or not housebroken, the covered entity may legally remove the dog. Businesses choose not to remove them because most are not adequately well-versed in the law. Better education is needed along with consequences for not removing untrained dogs.

Service dog requirements.

It is true that the ADA specifies that service dogs are supposed to be trained (not "highly trained"). But there is no federally recognized certification for this training. This means that owners of restaurants, etc. must take the dog owner's word that the animal has been trained for a specific task. There is no federal or state requirement that service dogs be "on a floor or in a sling carrier." Federal and state laws are woefully inadequate when it comes to enforcing the training requirement of service animals.

The Woefully inadequate laws.

While I agree that there are things that need changing, I don't quite want to divulge my medical information to anyone that owns an establishment I go into. I'm really only interested in sharing my problems with my doctors. So I'm quite okay with a few peoples fake service dogs slipping through the cracks in order for me to have a bit of privacy. I really don't want them to know I may be dislocating my knee while at their shop and honest to god. I don't think they do either.

So yes. Things need to change. Some sort of exam that provides identification if passed might be nice. but divulging my medical information needn't ever be required by law.

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