Meet Confetti. Confetti is Sorrel, Near-Leopard Appaloosa miniature female horse. Confetti was born in Florida and trained by the Jacksonville Council for the Blind to be a guide horse for people who can not see. Guide horses are an alternative to guide dogs because horses live between 30-45 years and can work as guide horses for at least 30 of those years. Guide dogs generally live between 10-15 years and work as guides dogs for about 8-10 years. Confetti is 29 inches from the ground to her withers. The withers are the place where her back and neck join, and the mane ends.
Confetti has been trained voice commands like how to:
- move left and right
- move forward and back
- stop at curbs
- go around stationary objects
- return back to the same spot
- lead a handler
The trainer also taught her that if she’s scared of something, she shouldn’t run away because whoever she is guiding, may be scared as well! The trainer also helped Confetti feel comfortable wearing a harness. Confetti is so well trained, she sleeps inside her owner’s closet! She eats, lives and plays inside her owner’s home, just like a guide dog would. Now, that’s impressive! Thanks to her trainer, Debbie King, Confetti was certified for public access by the Florida Service Dogs. Inc. in 2004.
Confetti’s owner, Cheryl, is a reservationist in Jacksonville, FL. She has genetic deformaties in her hands and feet. She is totally blind and totally deaf in one ear; she has 40% hearing loss in the other ear.
If you are interested in learning more about guide horses, you can find more information from the Guide Horse Foundation.