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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

Robot guide may soon replace guide animals

For the latest in miniature horse headlines visit:

Technology may soon replace guide animals as new advances in robotics may make Guide dogs and guide horses obsolete.

A new, one-of-a-kind robot uses the latest technology to help the visually impaired find their way when traditional guide dogs can’t. The Robotic Guide is a combination of high-tech computer parts and a mobile base that assists the visually impaired in busy areas such as grocery stores, malls and airports.

The robot uses radio frequency technology to give directions, product location and information to the visually impaired once they enter a store or airport.

One visually impaired subject invovled in the test had this to day:

“This robot would make a difference in my life,” said Sachin Pavithran, a visually impaired test subject for the project. “I would go to a grocery store by myself if something like this were available to me. It would help in so many places where I can’t go alone now. When I am in an airport and have a flight layover, I am often stuck in one place because I can’t get around by myself. This robot would give me back some independence.”

Experiments to devolop and test the robotic guide are being conducted at Utah State University by computer science professor, Vladimir Kulyukin and four Utah State graduate students.

Vladimir Kulyukin had this to say about the invention:

when a visually impaired person is in a new environment, such as an airport, a guide dog can’t guide that person to the correct location because it’s never been there either. Robotic Guide will lead the way without the need for human assistance thus giving the visually impaired person more freedom.

“Dogs may be man’s best friend, but in the case of a blind person that relationship is taken to the next level – they are essential,” said Kulyukin. “The only problem with a guide dog is that they only know to go where they have been taught.”

The Utah State computer science department has supported Kulyukin on this project, which also includes collaborations with Utah State’s Center for Persons with Disabilities and the department of psychology. In 2004, Kulyukin received a National Science Foundation Career award totaling nearly $500,000. Kulyukin also received two Community University Research Initiative grants that partially support his research.

It will be interesting and hopeful to see this new device on the market, and how much it greatly improves the mobility of the visually impaired.

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

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

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.