Have you ever heard of equine facilitated learning? I have had the amazing opportunity to be able to volunteer with a program called the Arabian Literacy Reading Project and it has been incredible to see the impact horses have had on children. When I found my RIGHT barn, I discovered that my current trainer and his wife started a program called the Arabian Literacy Reading Project. Basically, the program aims to help children learn and love to read through horses. They feel that horses help children learn to read because they are non-judgmental and really help children to relax. The program aims to motivate children to read through quality books and horses.
Gary Millar and his wife, Marion, founded the program and every fall they go out to schools and hand each class some books to practice reading. Then, at the end of the year the children from the classes come out to the farm and get a chance to read to the horses as well as complete four different activities involving horses: crafts, obstacle courses, and more. This year I was able to volunteer for when the children came out to the farm and I have to admit it was a very rewarding and incredible experience. It is so rewarding to see how all the horses impact the children and to see all of the children smiling throughout their time at the barn. Equine Facilitated Learning is not only reading with horses, but it is also working with horses and basically learning from horses. Horses can help children with special needs, people who have been in trouble with the law, corporate groups, people with anxiety, and much more.
As I was volunteering with the program, I realized something very important… horses impact each child different ways. They give each child a different experience and opportunity to express themselves. They make children smile, laugh, become better readers, and instill confidence. Horses give children a chance to be themselves. As I was able to work with a group of children, I was able to watch how they developed as readers. Some children came into the program and weren’t very strong readers. I noticed though by the end of the morning and activities most of the children were much more confident in their reading and had actually improved significantly. I was amazed at how much of an influence the horses had on the children. My eyes were definitely opened.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience working with these children and watching them grow and learn to love reading through horses. I am so excited to be able to volunteer next year with this incredible program! So the moral of this story is that, yes, horses can impact people in many ways that you might have never thought they could.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experience with equine facilitated learning! Maybe, this even might persuade you to get involved with different programs that use equines for learning. There are tons of programs and opportunities! Check out the Arabian Literacy Reading Project HERE. Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!
Have you had an experience with Equine Facilitated Learning? Tell me about it!