The first week of Horse Powered Learning was focused mainly on learning about horse safety, grooming and teamwork, all the while getting to know the ponies. We learned about the horse “handshake,” and about different breeds and sizes, different body parts, and how to properly groom.
Week two started with participants getting to experience riding LTR’s mechanical horse simulator. Activities then progressed into playing “Sight Word Soccer” with the ponies, a game that develops strategies for reading and using tricky words that sound or look similar. Each child built individual connections with their horse and explored communication skills when getting them to cooperate.
In the third week, the kids started the lesson by grooming the ponies, and later got into the activity of the day entitled “Word Herds.” Animals such as horses often travel in groups called herds that eat and live together. Similarly, word herds are groups of words that are like each other, but have different beginning sounds such as cat, hat, bat, sat. Participants were encouraged to develop reading comprehension skills through decoding by analogy (decode one word using what you know about another).
The fourth and final week of Horse Powered Learning was dedicated to creating a story using skills that were introduced in earlier lessons. After a grooming session, the kids picked words alongside the ponies and constructed a complete story, sentence by sentence. They faced challenges in coming up with sentences that both included the chosen word and continued the story. Once they had accomplished their task, finishing all the lessons in the program, everyone was rewarded with a ribbon and a book to take home.