The Cincinnati Airport Has Miniature Therapy Horses to Ease Your Crippling Flight Anxiety


Flying is so awful, and it’s only getting worse. Did you know there was a time when you could stroll about the cabin gnawing a handful of weirdly carved prosciutto? It’s true! Now you’re lucky to get where you’re going without getting assaulted by the flight crew.

But Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is trying to make at least your pre-flight time slightly less hellacious, bringing in miniature therapy horses to soothe the nerves of pissed-off passengers.

According to NPR, the airport is working with the non-profit Seven Oaks Farm to bring 34 therapy horses to the ticketing area twice a month. I guess passengers traveling the other 98 percent of the time will have to continue to console themselves with a $12 Cibo Express therapy sandwich, which I’ve found are okay to eat but tend to be somewhat messy to pet.

Airport official Wendi Orlando said she loves it when the horses show up—obviously.

“It’s just to ease anxiety levels, put smiles on faces. Clearly that’s working,” she said. “When you look at the passengers walking by, it just never gets old. They love seeing the horses.”

If you have no plans to step foot in the Cincinnati airport anytime soon, but you’d still like to enjoy the rejuvenating effects of touching small livestock, don’t worry. It turns out that therapy animals at airports are more common than you’d think:

More than 30 airports across the country now have therapy dogs. San Francisco has a therapy pig. San Jose, Calif., began a dog program after the Sept. 11 attacks and now has 21 therapy dogs and a therapy cat.
The animals don’t get spooked. They have had hundreds of hours of airport training so they are used to having luggage and people swarming around them.

The Cincinnati airport was originally going to settle for a dog therapy program, but officials wisely changed their minds once they became aware that tiny horses were an option. Next let’s work on replacing all flight crews with little uniformed animals—I have it on good authority a rabbit has never told anyone to wear something over her leggings before she may board a flight.

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