Passengers on a flight out of Grand Rapids saw something unusual recently: A mini service horse named Freckle Butt Fred making his first trip on an airplane.

Fox 17 reports that Fred and his handler Ronica Froese of Newaygo County successfully completed an air trip to California and back that began in Grand Rapids February 7th.

Recently, there have been talks of potentially stricter regulations from the Department of Transportation on which species of service animals can fly. Froese told Fox 17 that she hopes Fred's trip shows the model for air travel with a service mini-horse.

She added that while rules can often be abused, there are people like her, for whom their service animals are necessary:

“It is out of control, it’s a very abused process, there are a lot of untrained service animals on the plane that are not trained...It’s definitely an abused system, but the sad part is what the DOT is looking at doing, they are looking at excluding me as a handler from taking my horse on the plane."

Froese has trained Fred as a therapy and service horse. She says he is house-broken and better trained than most dogs. She spent many months making sure he was ready for their plane trip.

She purchase two first-class tickets for she and Fred-- and all went well!

"He was an angel," Froese told Fox 17, calling it "an amazing first time experience flying.”

She also Tweeted her thanks to all flight crews, TSA and airport employees for there kindness during their experience.

Froese operates Little Horses Big Smiles, a non-profit equine therapy organization in Fremont. You can follow Froese and her mini horses here.

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