Heroes On Horseback

Hardeeville Learn Horseback Style


By Holly Bounds

Some Jasper County students are picking up on some of life's most important lessons: horseback style.  It's called Heroes on Horseback and it's a non-profit program based at a Pritchardville farm that allows the mentally and physically disabled to experience life on a ranch.

Lowcountry Reporter Holly Bounds was there Thursday as Hardeeville's Special Education class saddled up.

Brie Eyda Martinez quickly caught on to what the hobby is all about.  Riding high and being the one in control give her the kinds of feelings her instructors hoped for.

"Happy.  Come back,” Martinez said.

For two months this will be an every-Thursday thing for Hardeeville's Special Education class.  Each of the eight students gets their turn to ride, play games, and learn the proper ways to work with the animal.  All while the rest of the students, you guessed it, hold their horses!

"I'm very proud of them,” their teacher Delia Istrate said.  “They are really sitting straight on the horses, they enjoy the horses, they interact with the horses nicely and smoothly,” she added.

Of course this doesn't resemble your typical school day lesson plan, but instructor Leslie Sullivan says the experience is one that teaches these students the kinds of skills they'll need throughout their lives.

"When they learn to ride, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment and they can go back and tell their classmates and siblings, “Hey, I rode this big horse and can control it,” and that's a big upper or bonus for them to be able to do that,” Sullivan said.

It's giving them a “giddy-up” on self-confidence, compassion, and respect, while sending them home with a great big smile.

For more information about Heroes on Horseback, visit their web-site at www.heroesonhorseback.org


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