Louisa County horse sanctuary teaching skills to special needs students
LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A horse sanctuary in Louisa County is teaming up with the school district’s special education program to help teach life skills.
Coda and Ducky are two of the 35 rescored horses at Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary.
“Some of them are law enforcement seizures; they were starvation, or neglect, or abuse cases. Some are owner surrenders for a myriad of reasons,” Co-owner Rhondavena Laporte said.
The horses and students are both learning to trust.
“They teach the horses, the horses teach them,” Laporte said.
Most of the special needs students have little-to-no experience with horses.
“They’re terrified of the animals, and then as they learn to get near them and groom them and help them. They get more and more attached, each one has kind of a favorite horse or donkey. And then to see them get up on the horses, when some of them didn’t even want to be around them at the beginning of the year, is really cool,” John Schick said.
Students learn a variety of skills, like building a barn and saddling.
“One of the most rewarding things is to see one of these kids around the community years and years down the road, or whatever, and they’re working and they’re successful, largely because of what they were able to do during their final years at school through this program,” Schick said.
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