A MINIATURE horse has been learning how to get about the North-East as part of his training to become a guide animal.

Twenty-month old Digby, an American miniature horse, is in training to become Britain’s first ever guide horse.

Wearing a harness, special "thunderpants" and a set of booties to protect his hooves, he had a practice day on the Metro to prepare him for using the London Underground.

The Northern Echo:

Metro services director Chris Carson said: “We do a lot of guide dog training on Metro, but a guide horse isn’t a sight we’ve ever seen. It’s brightened up everyone’s day.

“Digby took all the sights and sounds of the Metro system in his stride. I hope that the training has been of great benefit to Digby and his owner ahead of his big move to London.”

He is being trained by Katy Smith, who runs KL Pony Therapy in North Yorkshire.

She said: "Digby certainly caught a few of the Metro passengers by surprise but he always gets a great response from people wherever he goes."

When his training is complete, he will move to London to become a guide horse for partially-sighted Helena Hird, who wanted a horse rather than a dog because they live for longer.

The Northern Echo: