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The Guide Horse Foundation
Guide Horse Foundation

A non-profit charity dedicated to providing free guides for visually impaired individuals.

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Patricia Cornwell with Trip, one of the horses she donated to the guide Horse Foundation

Patricia Cornwell with Trip

Don and Janet Burleson - Copyright 2000 by Lisa Carpenter

Copyright © 2000 by Lisa Carpenter

Dan with Cuddles - Copyright (c) 2001 by Cathleen MacDonald
Copyright © 2001 by Cathleen MacDonald

Cuddles in Harness - Copyright (c) 2001 by Cathleen MacDonald

Copyright © 2001 by Cathleen MacDonald

Don and Janet with Trip and Ras

Copyright © 2000 by Lisa Carpenter

Cuddles on the first flight of a horse on a commercial flight

Copyright © 2001 by Erik Lesser
The worlds first horse to fly in the passenger cabin

Cuddles guiding Dan Shaw

Copyright © 2001 by Erik Lesser

Cuddles at Lunch

Copyright © 2001 by Erik Lesser

Copyright © 2001 by Wiley Miller



Guide horses

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Guide horses leading the blind
By: Marcie Fraser
Capital News

Panda is a miniature horse just a bit over two feet high, and weighs in at just over 100 pounds. She's one of the only two horses in the world that's used as a guide horse for the blind.

Her trainer said, "We started this project with a lot of questions. How do horses live in human environment? Can a horse do the guide work?"

And the answers are yes. Panda is proving to be better than a guide dog, and she could live 30 years longer.

Her trainer said, "As a guide horse, she's very interested in changes of footing. It makes perfect sense to her to stop at a curb, to point out uneven footings in a side walk."

Panda is allowed in the house, costs less than a dog to feed, and she's house broken; with voice commands, she'll do 'her business.'

Panda's training is similar to a guide dog's training. The first nine months she's trained like a puppy, she's house broken and obedience trained. The following six months, she receives guide training work and then, at just age 2, she's ready for her new owner.

Her owner is Ann, blind since birth, she's had three guide dogs, but unfortunately the dogs were easily distracted by small animals and didn't work out.

Already an owner of three riding horses, when Ann learned of the guide horses, she was eager to get started. Panda's a high quality horse and cost thousands of dollars, a worthy investment, said Ann.

Ann said, "I look at it as my transportation, and if I had to buy a car that would cost me even more so it's an investment, it's a 30 year investment."

Panda's training includes getting in and out of the car, using stairs, crossing busy and loud intersections and heeding uneven curbs. She has to do it all without getting distracted, and she's doing great.

As a guide animal, she's allowed is all public areas, like grocery stores, malls and airplanes. Ann and Panda's relationship is very much like a team.

Ann said "They become like a dance partner. You move with them and you can feel sensations through the harness and through the movement of their body, and they can communicate with you, through the harness."




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Training Miniature Horses as Guide Animals for the Blind

Janet Burleson

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The Guide Horse Foundation has the utmost respect for The Seeing Eye® and their seventy-two years of outstanding work with assistance animals for the blind. Even though the press often calls our horses "seeing eye horses", please note that The Guide Horse Foundation is not affiliated with or sanctioned by the Seeing-Eye® or any of the Guide Dog training organizations. Seeing-Eye® is a registered trademark of the Seeing-Eye, Inc.