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The Guide Horse Foundation

Guidehorse Newsletter!


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- Guide Horses in Movies

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- "Helping Hooves", our story

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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Frequently Asked Guide Horse Foundation Questions

This is a list of the most frequently asked questions about the Guide Horse Foundation. If your question is not on this list, please feel free to e-mail us with your question.

What are the costs of training a Guide Horse?

The costs associated with the acquisition and training of any Guide animal are not trivial.  At this time, all horses are donated free-of-charge and volunteers do all training for free. The costs of training a Guide Horse also includes the costs for transportation to the applicant for an on-site interview, transportation of the student to the Guide Horse Foundation for three weeks of on-site training, the costs of transporting the student and their guide back to their home, and the costs of transporting the trainer to the student’s home for final training. All of this is provided at no cost to the recipient of the Guide Horse.

Who pays the costs for the Guide Horse Foundation?

The Guide Horse Foundation relies on donations from individuals and corporations to cover all of the costs associated with the training and delivery of the Guide Horse.

At this time, all training services are provided free by volunteers, but we hope to acquire the funding to hire a full-time professional horse trainer. In this manner, the Guide Horse Foundation is able to supply Guide Horses to the blind, free-of-charge.

Do the blind people pay for their Guide Horse?

Guide Horses are given free to blind individuals after graduation from the Guide Horse training program.

What are the requirements to qualify to receive a Guide Horse?

The Guide Horse foundation accepts applicants based upon many factors. One of the foremost factors is the existing mobility of the blind person and their frequency of use of the Guide. A candidate who takes long daily walks with their cane and uses the horse every day would be an ideal candidate.

Does the blind person own their Guide Horse?

The handler has the right to use the horse's service for life. The Guide Horse Foundation does reserve the right to take the horse back under extreme circumstances. We would only do so if the horse were being abused, neglected, exploited or endangered in any way, or if the horse were being used in a way that placed the handler at risk.

If the handler's lifestyle or capability changes in such a way to prohibit continued use of the horse as a Guide we would assess the individual circumstances and the relationship between handler and horse as well as the wishes of the handler, before determining whether or not to retrieve the horse to serve a new handler. If the handler does not want to keep the horse for any reason, The Guide Horse Foundation will take the horse back. When the horse is retired the handler has the option of keeping it as a companion or returning it to the foundation for retirement. The handler does not have the right to sell the Guide horse under any circumstances.

Do Guide Horses have full access to public places?

Absolutely.  The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees the rights to public access for all Service Animal species, including dogs, monkeys (quadriplegic aids) and horse.  Click here to learn about the Civil Rights of Service Animals.

What is the demand for Guide Horses?

It is estimated that that about one-half of one percent (1.1 million) of the United States population are legally blind. From this blind population, less than 1% (about 10,000) currently use a dog guide. 

The demand for Guide Horses centers around those blind people who have not chosen a dog guide, and desire another mobility option. This population includes blind equestrians, those who are allergic to dogs, blind people who require a guide with exceptional stamina, people who desire a guide that does not have to live indoors when off-duty, and those who want a guide with a long lifespan.

I like to walk fast.  Will a Guide Horse be too slow for me?

All Guide Horses are trained as three-gaited horses.  That is, they are trained to guide at three separate speeds.  The handler uses voice commands to adjust the speed of the Guide Horse, from slow walk to walk, and walk to trot, and can adjust the speed of their Guide Horse, in the same fashion that an automobile driver shifts gears.

How do I mention the Guide Horse Foundation in my Will?

You may bequeath cash, securities, bonds or Real property to the Guide Horse Foundation.  For substantial donations, a perpetual endowment will be established in your name, and the Guide will be presented to their handlers as a gift from your estate.

The Guide Horse Foundation also provides a Living-Will arrangement where you can donate your home to the Guide Horse Foundation, realize a substantial tax deduction, and retain the right to live in your home tax-free for your entire lifetime.

To include the Guide Horse Foundation in your Will, ask your attorney to specify that your endowment shall be given to the Guide Horse Foundation, with our full name and mailing address. Upon registering your Will, have your attorney mail a copy of your Will to the Guide Horse Foundation at this address:

The Guide Horse Foundation
P. O. Box 511
Kittrell, NC, USA 27544

Is your question not on this list? Please send us an e-mail and we will be happy to respond to your question. 


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  Helping Hooves
Training Miniature Horses as Guide Animals for the Blind

Janet Burleson

Contains over 100 all-color photo's!

Retail Price $27.95 / £20.75 

- Help the Guide Horse Foundation give free Guides
- Author royalties benefit the Guide Horse Foundation

Only $19.95


Copyright © 1998 - 2005 by the Guide Horse Foundation Inc. 

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.

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