Students meet unique study buddies

GWINN– Some special guests were brought to one local school to help summer students with reading.

K.I. Sawyer Elementary School hosted its first ever Horse Power Reading Camp put on by Heritage Hills. The horses are serving as the students reading buddy; they are meant to be their companion and have fun with them while they learn. This certified program is endorsed by Eagala, an international organization that certifies equine learning and therapy.

“So they are connected to the horse, like they get to choose which color rope that they can connect with them,” Heritage Hills owner Joni Gleason said. “Like today the soccer game we’re doing, they’re going to be on teams with their reading buddy, which is a horse, a pony that they are going to be able to pick out.”

The soccer game is vocab soccer- another creative learning exercise for the students. Although today is the only day the reading buddies will be at the elementary school, Heritage Hills is offering an upcoming camp. Starting August 21st-23rd students entering second through fifth grade will be able to partake in similar activities. Children do not need to have previous experiences with horses to sign up for the camp.

“I think it’s really open and fun because a lot of these students haven’t had the opprunituty to work this closely with horses,” special ed teacher Kelsey Nordengren said. “So it’s just a different learning environment and they’re excited.”

The excitement was shown here Wednesday from the moment students were waiting to meet the ponies and even bigger smiles once they met their new buddies.

Gleason reassured the three ponies seen here are very gentle as well as the donkies at the barn.