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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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Helping Hooves
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

Passengers with livestock may now board the aircraft
Service Animal definition expanded to include livestock

From the September 2001 issue of Aviation Today we find a wonderful discussion of flying service animals.

Dan Shaw and his Guide Animal flying commercial.

This issue discusses the expanded definition of service animals to include emotional support animals and the types of animals appropriate for flying in USA commercial aircraft,  The article discusses Cuddles the miniature Guide Horse and other animals who have the right to accompany their disabled owners.

Functions of service animals

  • Guide dogs & miniature horses for persons who have visual impairments.
  • Hearing and signal animals (e.g., dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs) for persons who have physical disabilities.
  • Animals for persons with physical disabilities (e.g., dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs).
  • Seizure-response/alert animals (e.g., dogs, cats, birds) who alert individuals with seizure disorders to on oncoming seizure.
  • Emotional support animals (e.g., dogs, cats) who assist persons with severe emotional or mental disabilities (e.g., autism). In contrast, therapy animals.... not specifically trained to perform a function for a particular person, are not considered service animals (and) would not be afforded access rights under ADA (the Americans With Disabilities Act).

Types of service animals

  • Monkeys are sometimes used as service animals (and) are taught to perform many of the same functions as service dogs, such as retrieving dropped items...a bus system in Florida reports that it has a passenger who travels with a monkey, who deposits the fare into the farebox. As with service dogs, a monkey should have a harness of leash so that it is under the control of its handler at all times.
  • Pigs are very smart are sometimes used as service animals. Pot bellied pigs are small and favored as service animals by persons who are allergic to dogs. The New York City Transit Authority has passenger who travels as a service pig.

Typically, such animals are defined as any guide dog or other animal "individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability." These tasks include the well-known "seeing eye" function performed by dogs for guiding individuals with impaired vision.

Service animals do not have to be "certified," per se, and indeed carriers may not insist on any "proof" of certification under the provisions of the 1986 Air Carriers Access Act and of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). However, they cannot simply be pets.

Under the ADA, all service animals (not just guide dogs) must be allowed access to public facilities and transportation vehicles, violation of which is a misdemeanor. However, they may not occupy seats.


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Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2002,2003 by the Guide Horse Foundation Inc. 

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

Now you can read the book that tells the story of the development of the Guide Horse training program! Learn the techniques used to train a reliable, safe service horse.


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 $23.99

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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



About the Author:

Janet Burleson

Don and Janet Burleson - Copyright 2000 by Lisa Carpenter

  Janet Burleson is the pioneering horse trainer that developed the Guide horse training program. As a lifelong horse training enthusiast, Janet Burleson has experimented with hundreds of horse behavior challenges.  With four decades of horse teaching experience, read how she trained Twinkie, the prototype first experimental Guide horse for the blind and Cuddles  the first Guide horse to enter full time service as a guide animal for Dan Shaw.

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.