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  Guide Horse Foundation         

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



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   Horse Sense
October 9, 2001
Cuddles is a real cutie.  Only 24 inches tall, with a mane of chestnut color hair, she is quite gifted for a two-year-old.  She can find her way around the Atlanta subway system and the city's international airport, as well as the streets of Manhattan.

And, at 55 pounds, Cuddles is just the right weight for a full-grown miniature horse, the first Guide Horse for the blind in the United States.

Trained by Janet Burleson, founder of the nonprofit Guide Horse Foundation, Cuddles now lives in Maine with owner Dan Shaw, 44, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa.

"Neigh"-sayers voice concern that horses spook easily and might bolt in a crowd.  Burleson, a retired Arabian horse trainer, disagrees. "During the eight-month training session, we teach the horses to 'spook' in place," explains Burleson.  "They learn to accept the normal things of human life, like pedestrians and cars.  Just look at the police horses," says Burleson.  "It's the same idea."

Guide horses aren't for everybody, notes Burleson.  They sleep standing up and need a home with outdoor space and lots of grass to eat.  The Guide Horse Foundation ( is raising funds to train and donate more horses to the blind. "We have about 80 people on the waiting list,", says Burleson.

And since we know you're wondering . . . the answer is yes: Cuddles is housebroken.


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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.