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In the classroom: equine education for Lewis & Clark middle school students

Posted at 7:41 AM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 08:41:04-04

It is a lesson in conflict resolution.  The task at hand doesn't require these students to rein in their classmates, instead some Lewis and Clark seventh graders are trying to defuse a situation between two horses. 

"When you see them biting at each other, or going head to head, where do you see something like that at school," said Lewis & Clark Guidance Counselor Josie McDonnell. 

Guidance Counselor Josie McDonnell says what they learn in the arena at Take Flight Farms transfers back to the classroom. 

"Like when our friends have a conflict we can separate them," said 7th grader Isaac Goodwin.  

But, before some students could even participate, they had to face their fear of horses.  Jailen Walker had some good pointers for his classmates. 

"I told them to walk to them kind of slowly and stay calm and try to get their attention on you, instead of each other," said 7th grader Jailen Walker. 

The group was picked to participate based off their leadership skills.

"I'm hoping that they come back and they see the value of communication and being respectful and also see their surroundings," said McDonnell. 

Equine Education Instructor and Mental Health specialist Jennifer Leverett says her activities aren't just about individual problem solving, they're about facing challenging situations together. 

"Hopefully it also builds a team network and when they head back to school, they also form better bonds," said Leverett.