A pint-sized equine passenger surprised pretty much everyone on a recent American Airlines flight from Chicago to Omaha. "Flirty The Mini Service Horse" accompanied her owner Abrea Hensley on a regional jet on Friday as the pair headed off for a long weekend trip. Hensley tweeted that she was flying to visit family in Nebraska.
Other passengers tweeted out pics of Flirty, evidently a little freaked—perhaps in a good way—to be taking to the friendly skies with the seven-year-old mini-horse.
Hensley records the pair's trips together under the Twitter handle @FlirtyTheSH.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that Flirty has been supporting Hensley since 2017 assisting with medical alerts and aiding mobility.
In short, Flirty is a very good little horse. Still, her presence kind of messes with others sometimes.
No less than the American Airlines (unofficial) stewardess' Instagram essentially jumped to Flirty's defense against those who sneered at an "emotional support horse."
The caption read in part, "Flirty is a service animal. NOT an emotional support animal although she sure would give me emotional support..."
It's true, as Abrea Hensley pointed out on Flirty's Twitter with a screengrab from the Americans with Disabilities Act rules:
"In addition to the provisions about service dogs," the image reads, "the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities."
"(Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable."
In essence, Flirty's a trained animal doing a job for someone with a proven need.
All that said, if you ever see her and her owner on a flight, please don't try to make your emotional support chihuahua ride her (at least until after takeoff.)