Horsing aroundPublished 10:17pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012
To an outsider, it might look as if Cedar Lane Alternative School students are just horsing around out at Circle C Stables.
In reality, the students are learning how to be effective teachers while learning about horses through the school’s Reaching for the Reins program.
For the first 10 weeks, Cedar Lane students learned how to ride and take care of horses at Circle C Stables in Benton Harbor.
Then, for the next eight to 10 weeks, they taught a group of special-needs students from Lighthouse Education Center in St. Joseph the same skills.
“It’s great because they learn about teamwork and building relationships,” Cedar Lane math teacher Tara Carlsen said. “They are more motivated here at school, too, because they have to keep up attendance and grades to stay in the program.”
Sophomore Brady Sine, who is in the program for the first time this year, was afraid of horses at the beginning. Now, he’s a seasoned vet.
“I know now horses are actually very nice, kind of like a big dog,” he said.
Another first-year student, junior Dakota Nixon, was also nervous around horses until one rested its head on his shoulder.
“It actually comforted me,” Nixon said. “They are really unique creatures.”
Sine, who described himself as a bit of a loner, said the program helped him come out of his shell.
“Just being around the other students,and the kids from Lighthouse really helped,” he said.
Nixon and Sine plan on enrolling in the program again next year.
“I’m definitely going back out,” Nixon said. “Working with the kids and being around the horses was a lot of fun.”
Carlsen said she usually has 20 students enrolled and between 10 to 12 finish the program.