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How This Emotional Support Horse Made History on an Airplane

Inside Edition logo Inside Edition 9/11/2019 Inside Edition Staff
a man and a woman standing in front of a building: She accompanied her 33-year-old owner, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, on a flight. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. She accompanied her 33-year-old owner, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, on a flight.

A horse is believed to have made aviation history, and Inside Edition was there for the moment.

Abrea Hensley, 33, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which she says is due to childhood trauma. Because she is allergic to dogs, her service animal is a horse she named Flirty. Together, they boarded a plane in Nebraska.

It's believed that Flirty's voyage is the first time in U.S. aviation history that a miniature horse flew a commercial airplane. 

“I definitely have to say a big thank you to FAA,” she told Inside Edition. “It is official.” 

Just like human travelers, there was a last-minute bathroom run for Flirty so she wouldn't go on the plane. 

At the airport in Omaha, passengers couldn't believe what they were seeing. Nearly everyone on board the plane and in the waiting areas pulled out their phones in astonishment. 

“We'll make it as easy as possible, same rules flying with a service dog,” a TSA agent told Hensley. 

It was a tight fit for the horse, Hensley and Inside Edition’s producer as they flew from Omaha to Chicago. 

Flirty remained calm for takeoff, and to help with the pressure, the horse even chewed on pretzels similar to how humans chew gum. 

The 1 1/2-hour flight had some minor turbulence, but Flirty handled it like an experienced traveler.

“She did really well. She was very quiet the whole flight,” Hensley said. 

Hensley made her way through O’Hare International Airport, and some folks were pleasantly surprised.

However, one woman was not happy to see the horse in the airport. “It’s too big. What if it goes a little crazy? Starts kicking people. I don't think it’s a good idea,” the woman told Inside Edition. 

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