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


Miniature Horses legal Designation

For the latest in miniature horse headlines visit:

The surging popularity of miniature horses and Guide Horses for the Blind has caused a re-thinking of laws relating to horses.

The Americans with Disabilities Act allows Guide Horses to reside anywhere, but the law is vague regarding miniature horses used as therapy and "emotional support" animals.  To qualify to keep a miniature horse in a suburban or urban area, the disabled person must have a recognized disability and the miniature horse must be able to assist the person.

The greatest debate is about whether miniature horses should be classified as livestock, exotic animals or companion animals.

  • Livestock Animals - This has been the traditional classification for horses. The livestock designation limits the rights of horses and allows horses to be slaughtered for food. The livestock designation also allow for State and Federal funds to be applied to the horse industry, providing show areas and public horse facilities.
  • Companion Animals - The companion animal designation (same as dogs, cats) would give greater rights to horses but limits their usefulness as working animals.
  • Exotic Animals - Many people are challenging the courts to re-designate miniature horses as exotic animals, allowing them to live in areas that are not zoned for livestock. Opponents of this measure note that miniature horses might fall prey to neighborhood dogs and suffer from excessive domestication.

Numerous cases have been won by miniature horse owners who challenged existing livestock laws and won the rights to keep their miniature horse in suburban areas.

In Ridgewood Homeowners Assn. v. Mignacca (2001) a Rhode Island Court found that miniature horse could be classified either as livestock or pets under existing RI law:

In R.I.G.L. 4-13-1.2(5), we find the following definition of livestock:

"Livestock" means domesticated animals which are commonly held in moderate contact with humans which include, but are not limited to, cattle, bison, equines, sheep, goats, llamas, and swine.

R.I.G.L. 4-13-1.1(8) favors us with us a definition of pets:

"Pets" mean domesticated animals kept in close contact with humans, which include, but may not be limited to dogs, cats, ferrets, equines, llamas, goats, sheep, and swine.

More than ever, miniature horses are finding their way into non-traditional housing areas.


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Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2002,2003 by the Guide Horse Foundation Inc. 

Guide Horse ® is a registered trademark of the Guide Horse Foundation Inc.

Now you can read the book that tells the story of the development of the Guide Horse training program! Learn the techniques used to train a reliable, safe service horse.







Helping Hooves

The Guide Horse Foundation Training Program to Train  Miniature Horses  as Guide Animals for the Blind


Janet Burleson
Retail Price $29.95

Order this book now and get 20% off the retail price!


Only $23.99

Buy Now!


Read the compelling story of the first miniature horse trained to work as a guide horse. Learn the exciting methods used to prepare the tiny horses to perform these amazing services.


A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit the Guide Horse Foundation.






Janet Burleson is one of the world's pioneering horse trainers – Practical Horseman Magazine


Seeing is believing – USA Today


Janet and Don Burleson are  . . . Angels – People Magazine


How wonderful that Janet and Don Burleson have initiated this valuable experimental program teaming miniature horses with blind people – Newsweek


Miniature ponies are leading the way for the blind – ABC News


Guide Horses  . . . are as small and disciplined as Guide Dogs – TIME Magazine


Extraordinary – ABC 20/20


It is often the little things that win our hearts and minds – ABC News


The Burleson’s are . . . using horse sense to Guide – Boston Globe


Twinkie proved that miniature horses could fill the role, and fill it well – VetCentric Magazine


An Intriguing Program - Discovery Channel




About the Author:


Janet Burleson


Don and Janet Burleson - Copyright 2000 by Lisa Carpenter

  Janet Burleson is the pioneering horse trainer that developed the Guide horse training program. As a lifelong horse training enthusiast, Janet Burleson has experimented with hundreds of horse behavior challenges.  With four decades of horse teaching experience, read how she trained Twinkie, the prototype first experimental Guide horse for the blind and Cuddles  the first Guide horse to enter full time service as a guide animal for Dan Shaw.





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. 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.