'It made my day': Mini horse riding BART trains delights passengers

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A little horse was a big deal for BART passengers Tuesday afternoon.

The equine passenger, apparently named Sweets, got the OK from BART officials to take a trip from Oakland to San Francisco because it was a service animal.

“It made my day,” said Twitter user @cfairyfay, who snapped a photo of the horse at a station on the Antioch line. “I will take miniature horses over BART delays any day.”

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the owner boarded a train with the horse at the Rockridge station after showing a station agent paperwork stating that it was a service animal.

The station agent consulted supervisors, who in turn called up BART’s lawyers. They concluded that the horse should be allowed on board, Trost said, after consulting Americans with Disabilities Act regulations that require transit agencies to allow service animals to accompany riders who have disabilities.

BART’s rules for emotional support animals and typical pets are more strict — they can ride trains, but must be kept in a “secure, enclosed carrier specifically manufactured for transport of a pet.”

Miniature horses have become popular as service animals, and the Americans with Disabilities Act was revised in 2010 to include rules for them.

Trost added, however, that “a large animal in the BART system comes with certain challenges and we plan to further investigate interpretations of the law when it comes to large animals.”

Rider Louis Rodrigues said he spotted the horse when Rodrigues boarded a San Francisco-bound train at 12th Street Station.

Rodrigues said he was told the piebald horse, which sported a harness with a handle and four bright-blue shoes as it stood next to its owner, is named Sweets.

The horse had apparently transferred by then — @cfairyfay’s photo showed Sweets on one of BART’s older trains, while Rodrigues’ photo was from a new Fleet of the Future car.

A trail of amused riders tweeted about their four-legged fellow passenger as Sweets rode through the Transbay Tube to Downtown San Francisco. (A bag strapped to the horse’s rear appeared to ensure that was only trail it left.)

“I looked on in amazement until (the) BART pony eventually disembarked at Montgomery,” Rodrigues said.

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