COFFEE-LOVERS had a surprise when they went to their favourite cafe to find a horse sipping a cappuccino.

Mr P, the Ultra American Miniature Horse, just 28in high, had gone shopping on Yarm High Street with his owner, Katy Smith and popped into Diana Kaye florists before having a coffee at coffee@elliots cafe.

Ms Kaye had met Mr P in the cafe before and contacted The Northern Echo to make a point about how shopping in towns can be more fun than the supermarket or out of town shopping precincts.

She said: "Stumbling across a horse drinking a cappuccino while you're in a cafe is just not something that you'd find a supermarket. It's good fun."

Ms Smith explained she runs a business in Sadberge, near Darlington and takes Mr P to old people's homes and schools as well as parties but takes him out and about shopping and on days out.

She said: "In the florist there was a gentleman who just couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a horse in there.

"It totally threw him. But it's all positive, people love to see him.

"In America they're using training these horses as guides for the blind, because they live longer than dogs. One blind person has even had one on an aeroplane."