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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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Training Guide Horses for the Blind

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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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Mar 18 2004


By Helen Cook


YOU'VE seen the guide dog, now step up a the guide HORSE.

Three-year-old Tonto is just two feet high and is the precious eyes of his blind owner Shari Bernstiel.

Tonto does everything the traditional guide dog can, including taking Shari on shopping trips and to the cinema.

But he has one big advantage over the guide dog - a life expectancy of 40 years.

That means Shari can stick with one animal for most of her life instead of changing dogs several times. Tonto even has his own pair of trainers to give him better grip on shiny floors.

Shari, who lives in Pennsylvania, said: "A lot of people ask if he's stuffed.

"Well, he's walking and there's no place for batteries."

Tonto, who cost £1,000, took a year to train at the Guide Horse Foundation in North Carolina. A similar scheme using Shetland ponies started in Britain last year.

Dan Shaw, 45, is another of a handful of blind people in America to choose a miniature horse instead of a dog.

Dan, who lives in Maine, teamed up with Cuddles in 2002 and is sold on the idea of a horse guide.

He said: "Instead of going through three or four guide dogs in my lifetime, I'll get to stick with one animal."

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Training Miniature Horses as Guide Animals for the Blind

Janet Burleson

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Guide Horse ® Guidehorse ®  and Helping Hooves ® are registered trademarks.


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.