|The Guide Horse
A non-profit charity dedicated to providing free guides for visually impaired individuals.
News and Events
Due to popular request, the Guide Horse Foundation is now publishing a monthly newsletter on this page. The intent of this document is to keep interested people informed about recent developments in the Guide Horse Foundation.
November 2003 - Guide Horse
"proving to be better than a guide dog" according to
member of the National Guide Dog Users Association.
Dan and Cuddles appear on Oprah
May 13, 2003 - Dan and Cuddles flew from Boston to Chicago to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show as part of a "That's incredible" show.
Upcoming Guide Horse Television Stories
January 22, 2002 - The following national television stories are scheduled for the Guide Horse Foundation in January and February 2002.
September 18, 2001 - Family Circle Article
There are excellent new articles about the Guide Horse Foundation in Practical Horseman and Family Circle magazines.
September 9, 2001- Mini Horse Legal Status
Due to popular request, we are adding a page of links about miniature horses and their status in the US courts. Click here to view the page:
We are also happy to report that Dan Shaw and Cuddles will appear on Nickelodeon and a new episode of Ripley's Believe It or Not this fall. There are excellent new articles about the Guide Horse Foundation in Practical Horseman. Equine Journal, and Family Circle magazines.
August 19, 2001 - Update on Dan & Cuddles
Dan and Cuddles continue to report success, and trainers from the foundation are planning a visit to Ellsworth Maine in September to observe Dan's claims that Cuddles has memorized complex directional commands. Dan claims that Cuddles has learned a route through his neighborhood, and Dan simply commands Cuddles to "take a walk" and Cuddles walks the route. Dan also reports that he has taught Cuddles to "find the car" in the Mall parking lot, thereby saving Ann Shaw the trouble of remembering where she parked their car.
July 24, 2001 - New York Post Article
There was a nice article this month in the New York Post about Dan and Cuddles. Click here to read the story.
July 17, 2001 - Mini Horse Classification
The growing popularity of miniature horses has caused interest in re-classifying miniature horses as pets. Traditionally classified as livestock, tiny horses are becoming popular in residential neighborhoods, and widespread efforts are underway to give tiny horses the same status as cats and dogs.
The Rhode Island supreme court is hearing a case that will broaden the classification of miniature horses to include them as pets.
June 27, 2001 - Guide Horses in Equine Journal
The Guide Horse foundation is featured in the most recent issue of the Equine Journal.
June 26, 2001 - Dan & Cuddles
After three weeks of solo use, Dan Shaw says that Cuddles has done a spectacular job in keeping him safe. Dan reports that Cuddles has memorized some new commands including "go to the mailbox", and "take a walk". For the "take a walk" command, Dan reports that Cuddles has memorized a route through the neighborhood, and will follow the route exactly when asked to take a walk. Dan also reports that Cuddles has learned to recognize the family car in a crowded mall parking lot, and takes him and Ann to the car after a shopping visit.
June 4, 2001 - Dan & Cuddles visit Washington DC
Dan and Cuddles travels through Washington DC, New York City and Boston exceeded all expectations and we are very proud of both Dan and Cuddles.
In Washington DC, Dan and Cuddles arrived the day of the "Rolling Thunder" celebration, a motorcycle event honoring POW's. Cuddles and Dan were able to work calmly even with the roaring of thousands of motorcycles, and they both enjoyed visits to the Washington Monument and the White House.
In New York City, Dan and Cuddles performed amazingly well. Cuddles was able to cross some of the most chaotic intersections in North America with ease, and she was able to ride the subway like a pro, negotiating the escalators and stairs and squeezing into crowded subway cars like a native New Yorker. During their visit, Dan and Cuddles toured the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Chinatown, Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Carnegie Deli, FAO Schwartz, and Central Park, where Dan and Cuddles took a horse-drawn carriage ride. ABC News 20/20 also invited Dan and Cuddles to the studio, where they met Barbara Walters and Connie Chung. Everyone in New York welcomed Dan and Cuddles with open arms. The manager of the Travel Inn where we stayed is a former horse trainer, and made a $300 donation to help defer our travel costs.
Dan and Cuddles were warmly received in Boston for their graduation. The Boston Harbor Hotel donated the use of their health club for Dan and Cuddles to freshen-up for their graduation party. Dan and Cuddles arrived at the Rack with a full police escort, including Police motorcycles and Police Horses. The Police Horses formed an honor guard at the entrance to The Rack where Dan and Cuddles received their graduation certificate from a representative of the Carroll Center for the Blind, where Dan received his mobility training. Dan and Cuddles where then greeted by visiting dignitaries including the Mayor of Boston, who pledged his wholehearted support for mobility alternatives for the blind.
Upon their arrival in Ellsworth Maine, Cuddles was delighted with the barn and corral that Dan had built for her. Dan and Cuddles received finishing training in all of the spots where Dan and Cuddles will regularly travel, including Bar Harbor, Bangor and Ellsworth.
May 15th, 2001 - Dan & Cuddles in training
At the end of Dan Shaw's and Cuddles first week of training everyone has been quite impressed with their progress. Dan is learning to communicate with cuddles, both verbally and via body language. Dan and Cuddles are becoming a team, and despite the rigorous daily training sessions, Dan and Cuddles are both exhausted and satisfied.
Dan and Cuddles have already worked successfully on obstacle avoidance and elevation changes, including stairs, curbs and escalators. They have been working on traffic training every day, walking for miles and crossing countless intersections. In several cases last week, Cuddles has demonstrated her blocking maneuver, where she is trained to block Dan and prevent him from stepping into danger. Last week Cuddles prevented Dan from colliding with a kamikaze bicycle rider who came quickly from behind and passed within inches of the team.
Cuddles is also showing amazing skills at detecting approaching objects from behind, and her 350 degree field of vision has served them well. Cuddles has been trained to pause at driveways when a car is approaching her from behind and to only move forward when it is clear that the car is not turning into the driveway.
Cuddles has also displayed remarkable talent in finding doorways and elevator buttons. In one case Cuddles was asked to locate a door among three identical panels, the only difference being the doorknob on one panel. Her object recognition skills are outstanding and she has been able to take Dan to doorways with 100% accuracy.
In the next two weeks we are looking forward to on-site visits from three applicants for Guide Horses, including a blind cowboy from Oklahoma who has worked with horses his entire adult life and a blind equestrian from New York who regularly rides her horses in competition.
April 2001 - New Helpers
We would like to thank the Bayfield 4H club for their generous contributions this month in assisting with the care and grooming of the Guide Horses.
Arrangements have been made for Dan Shaw and his wife to begin their on-site training in May 2001. If Dan and Cuddles demonstrate that they are a capable guide team they will graduate on May 30th in Boston. After Dan and Cuddles successfully complete their training, the Guide Horse Foundation will proceed with the evaluation and acceptance of other applicants from our waiting list.
March 2001 - Guide Horse mobility evaluation
The initial mobility and orientation evaluation of our first experimental volunteer has been successful. Dan Shaw of Ellsworth Maine demonstrated excellent orientation and mobility skills during his visit to North Carolina, as evidenced by his completion of training at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Massachusetts. Dan now graduates to apprentice handler status and will arrive in North Carolina in May for three-weeks of intensive team-building training.
If Dan and Cuddles are able to demonstrate absolute proficiency in essential guide activities such as traffic work, they will formally graduate on May 30th. However, should there be any concerns about the safety of Dan and Cuddles as a working team, graduation will be postponed, and Dan will be re-scheduled for a subsequent visit.
Meet Dan & Cuddles at their Graduation Party
Provided that Dan and Cuddles successfully complete their training, a graduation party has been scheduled at the Rack, 24 Clinton St, Boston, on May 30th at 6:00 PM. Dan and Cuddles graduation party is sponsored by the Rack in a joint fund-raising party to benefit the Carroll School for the Blind and the Guide Horse Foundation. The party is open to the public and entry is limited to the first 600 attendees, so plan to arrive early.
Delivery of the World's first Guide Horse Announced
March 16, 2001 - The Guide Horse Foundation announced today the delivery of the World's first Guide Horse to enter full-time service. Cuddles and her new blind handler, Dan Shaw, will complete training at the Guide Horse Foundation on May 27th, 2001. Following the completion of the training, Dan and Cuddles will travel to Dan's home in Ellsworth, Maine for on-site training and finishing.
During their travel to Maine, Dan and Cuddles and the Guide Horse trainers will be available to the press on the following dates:
May 27th, 2001 - Washington DC - 1:00 PM - FDR Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Capital Building, Washington Monument, White House
May 28th, 2001 - New York City
Noon - Arrive at Travel Inn (515 W. 42nd St) (695-7171)
1:00 PM - Walk to Times Square, take 1-9 train to Rector St
1:30 PM - Leave Battery Park for Liberty Island, Statue of Liberty
4:30 PM - Walk to 4-5 train at Bowling Green - Visit Wall street
5:00 PM - Exit 4-5 train at Canal Street - Walk to Mott Street
5:30 PM - Dinner at Oriental Pearl, 103 Mott St.(219-8388)
7:00 PM - Tea at St. Alps Tea House, 51 Mott St. (766-9889)
May 29th, 2001 - New York City
- 8:30 AM - Walk to Times Square, N-R train to Herald Square
- 9:00 AM - Visit top of Empire State Building
- 11:30 AM - take N-R train to 57th street, Lunch at Carnegie Deli,
854 7th Ave, (757-2245)
- 1:30 PM - Carriage ride in Central Park at 59th and 5th Ave
- 2:00 PM - Stroll through Plaza Hotel
- 6:00 PM - Dinner at Restaurante Brunelli's,
1409 York Ave at 75th, (212) 744-8899
May 30th - New York City to Boston
May 30th, 2001 - Boston -
1:00 PM - Walk at Quincy Market, liberty trail, old north church
7:00 PM - Graduation Party at the Rack
(Press Contact Elaine Driscoll, (617) 488-2856)
May 31st, 2001 - Ellsworth, Maine - Bar Harbor
World's first commercial Air Flight for a Guide Horse Announced
January 28, 2001 - The Guide Horse Foundation announced today the scheduling of the first commercial airline flight of a blind person and their Guide Horse. Dan Shaw of Ellsworth Maine, the first recipient of a Guide Horse, will fly to the Guide Horse Foundation on Saturday, March 3rd, 2001 for a week of preliminary guide training and to meet his Guide Horse (Cuddles). On March 6, 2001, Dan and Cuddles will fly from Raleigh-Durham to Atlanta, Georgia, where Cuddles will practice train riding on the MARTA subway system. During the flight, Cuddles will ride in the passenger cabin with Dan, sharing a space in the bulkhead row of the aircraft.
The Guide Horse Foundation announces delivery of the first trained Guide Horse
January 3, 2001 - The Guide Horse Foundation today announced the scheduled delivery of Cuddles, the first Guide Horse to Daniel Shaw of Ellsworth Maine. Mr. Shaw will arrive at the Guide Horse Foundation in May 2001 for three weeks of intensive training, and will then return to Maine with Cuddles. During the delivery of Cuddles, the Guide Horse Foundation will make media appearances in Richmond, VA, Washington DC, New York City, and Boston.
Patricia Cornwell Announces Guide Horse in forthcoming Novel
August 12, 2000 - Patricia Cornwell, author of the NY Times #1 bestseller Black Notice and newly released The Last Precinct announced that she is planning to incorporate a blind character with a guide horse in her upcoming Novel, Isle of Dogs, due for publication in October, 2001. Ms. Cornwell visited the Guide Horse Foundation in Kittrell for research and walked blindfolded with "Twinkie" on NBC news in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Patricia Cornwell generously donated six horses to the Guide horse program. Cuddles is destined to be the first Guide Horse placed into fulltime service as a personal Guide for Dan Shaw of Ellsworth, Maine.
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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.