Millie had a rough introduction to life. The chestnut filly was discovered at 15 months of age with the rest of her herd, living wild in Eastern Kentucky. She was starving. She could barely walk. But she was lucky, because she found a safe refuge at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center (KyEHC).
“Any time you put horses and kids together, it’s usually going to be a success, if it’s planned right,” said KyEHC Executive Director Karen Gustin in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The primary purpose behind [Take the Reins] is to help kids understand that horses have challenges and can come from difficult situations and still, with the right help, become good companions to people.
“All of us have challenges in our life, and there are people here to help,” Gustin adds. “Hopefully they can draw the parallel between what horses go through and what we all have to go through at times in our lives.”
Some of the students who participate in the program are developing their mastery of the English language, and Take the Reins helps with that while also giving participants some of the specialized vocabulary that comes with working with horses.
All of the students, regardless of their background, have the unique opportunity to learn about horses and the work and care it takes to keep them healthy and happy.
The program continues through the school year thanks to partnerships with local elementary schools and a sponsorship from Alltech. Students will take field trips and learn from horse industry professionals, and the program is designed to integrate with academic subjects including math, science, language arts, and local history.
Read more about this summer’s Take the Reins program in the Lexington Herald-Leader, and find out more at KyEHC.org.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com