Freckle Butt Fred recently took his first flight on a plane. While you may think that the flight attendants were surprised by his name, it was not the name that would have surprised them. That is because Freckle Butt Fred is a horse.
Fred (as his friends call him) is a service horse and so was accompanying his owner Ronica Froese on a flight from Michigan to California. At the moment Fred is allowed to accompany people with service needs on a flight however that may change in the future. There are plans in place to restrict the type of service animals that are allowed to be taken on flights with only specialized dogs to be allowed to fly in the future.
If you had seen how Fred behaved on the flight to California you would wonder why there would be any need to stop a miniature horse from flying. Fred needed to prepare for the flight. He had to be potty trained to ensure he would not defecate on the plane, but this is something that he learned at a young age. He had to be trained to get used to the loud noises of plane engines without panicking and they had to find a way to allow him to stand on the plan without losing stability. Fred performed amazingly.
The most important thing for Froese, Fred’s owner, was to ensure that he had enough room on the flight. To do this, she purchased two first-class seats with extra legroom. Froese wanted to ensure there was no chance of an upset on the flight so she even got Fred to wear a bright hood on the flight and a jacket. This meant that if anyone was allergic to horse hair there would not be an issue.
While it may sound like fun to bring a miniature horse on a flight there are risks involved. If there was an emergency on the flight and the plane crashed, a horse could cause mayhem. Froese had to train the horse especially to sit in his lap. That way if they had to go down the emergency slide, Frank would be able. Luckily that exercise did not need to be tested.
Froese said that all the staff were extremely helpful and welcoming of her and Fred. They did anything they could to make sure both the animal and the owner were comfortable. However, the owner did say that people in the airport were not so understanding. The worst moment came when some people waited outside the bathroom for 30 minutes just to get a picture of the horse. Of course, Froese understands that some people are not used to seeing a horse, let alone a miniature horse, let alone a miniature horse in an airport wearing an outfit. However, when you do approach and start to realize that it is a service animal you should just move on.
It is usually impossible to know why a person has a service animal and if a crowd gathers it could be the exact opposite of what that person needs. The service animal could be there to see early warnings of stress and anxiety in a patient and a large crowd is the exact type of thing to cause stress and anxiety. Froese said that there were many people who were just rude in their approach and desperation to get a picture. While Froese says she doesn’t mind being asked for the occasional picture, she does mind people taking pictures of her and her animal without asking. While seeing an incredibly cute miniature horse ready for its first flight would be adorable, we all must learn to exercise caution as that animal is working at that time and likely needs space.