The rural school district program comprises solely what Hagan calls ground work. Students will practice leading a horse through obstacles and have opportunities to develop social skills like communication, patience, self-confidence and respect, while learning about personal space, communication, following directions and controlling their energy levels, Hagan said.
“It’s designed to work with kids who might need an opportunity to work on skills in a nontraditional setting,” added Hoeft.
Tri County Curriculum Director Ryan Clark plans to transport eight students in grades 7-11 to the equine facility near Firth once a week. He said his district is always looking for new opportunities for its students and new ways to work on skills. Two key areas he sees the program helping with are problem-solving and self-management of emotions.
During the eight, 90-minute sessions, students will not only lead a horse through obstacles, but will also be expected to journal. “We do want some interactivity, to get them to reflect a bit,” said Hagan.
COVID-19 precautions delayed start dates
Both programs were scheduled to start last spring, but then COVID-19 precautions prevented that. Tri County and Royal Family Kids Club hope to have the opportunity to participate this fall. Norris’s startup will be pushed to next spring.