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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

Guide horse travels on cruise ship

For the latest in miniature horse headlines visit:

Chris Spencer, husband of Cheryl Spencer, an owner-trained guide horse has reported that they completed a sea voyage with Confetti, the world's first owner-trained miniature horse guide.  Here are excerpts from his report:

Saturday evening, May 7, 2005, JBR Princess Confetti made Guide Horse History by being the first to go to sea on a commercial passenger vessel, SunCruz IV. At first the captain said no, she could not sail on his ship.  


We were very reluctantly allowed to board. We went immediately to the third deck where the band and buffet were. We were greeted with "Look at the little horse!" What happened next really blew our minds! A young man came over to us and said "Were you the ones who spoke with three State Troopers in the St. Johns County Rest area on I-95 about 2 years ago?"


I replied in the affirmative and he said "I was one of those Troopers, and the other two are here also! I thought it was the same horse, but I wasn't sure so I had to ask. What a coincidence!" We chatted for a few minutes about the changes that have happened since then and he mentioned having seen the Public Service Announcement on TV, and about all the signs in the state being changed because of Confetti.

Once underway we were summoned to the bridge to speak with the captain in person. The captain had some reservations regarding her sailing on his ship - mainly the length of the cruise - 5 1/2 hours - and having no facilities for relieving an animal. When we explained that she was trained to relieve into the shopping bags and demonstrated how they were attached, he felt a little better but obviously still had some reservations. He asked if he could have a picture of Confetti to email to his boss. Of course we were more than happy to comply. (I have included it in this message)

About 2 hours later, Confetti asked to relieve herself, so we took her into the restroom (she's such a little lady, she wants her privacy when she goes!) When she finished, I took off the bag, tied it off and put it into another bag to make sure all of the odor was contained. We then exited the restroom and who was on the other side of the door but the
captain! I was carrying the bag of poo in my hand and he said, "Now I believe!" He went into the rest room (which happened to be just off the door to the bridge) and I never looked back.


I don't know whether he went in to check it out or if he really needed to use it himself, but whatever the case, he found no mess from our girl! Shortly after that one of the girl hands came over and asked if we would like a "Players Club" card with Confetti's name on it as a souvenir of her voyage, and of course we said yes! She asked what name to put on it and I gave her both of Confetti's names, JBR Princess Confetti and Confetti Spencer. She asked if she could have a picture of Confetti, and I suggested I take the picture and she be in it with her. She was thrilled!

About an hour later Confetti asked to relieve again, so once again we took her into the restroom and this time she peed into her bag, which I emptied into the toilet. No muss, no fuss. Shortly after that we were presented with 2 "Player's Club" cards, one in the name JBR Princess Confetti and the other in the name Confetti Spencer!

Then another hand approached us and passed me a business card with the captain's email address on it and the hand asked me to email it to the captain. I told him I would as soon as we got home. He said that I could do it right from the ship. So we went to the V.I.P. lounge where the computer was, they copied the pictures from my camera and printed an 8x10 of  the picture of the bridge for the captain as well as
emailing it. They then gave Cheryl and I "Player's Club" cards and told us that these would allow us free passage on any Sun Cruz ship any time we wanted to sail! How's that for acceptance?

Toward the end of the cruise an announcement was made that the elevator would be turned off 20 minutes before docking and would not be turned on again until a half hour after docking, so we decided to go down to the first deck so we could get off fairly early.


We hung out in the V.I.P. lounge while waiting to dock and we were told that this was one of the most enjoyable cruises in a really long time, probably due to Confetti's presence on board. She put everyone she came in contact with in a really good mood. What a compliment! Shortly before we docked, a hand came to us and escorted us to the exit so we would be the first passengers to disembark. What treatment! They made us feel very, very special. Seems our little Princess got the "Royal" treatment that night!

She is an excellent guide even in tight places and large crowds. The slot machines gave her a bit of a start at first, but we gave her some carrots and let her look at them and she was fine after that. There were about 600 people on that boat, and I'm fairly certain that every one of them at least saw her, and a lot of them asked if they could touch her. She tolerated all of the oohing and ahhing and the touching very well. She amazes me at how well she deals with crowds. "No big deal!"

Get the Book!


Helping Hooves

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

Janet Burleson
Retail Price $27.95

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

Only $19.95

Order 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






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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. 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.