Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Power of a Horse Experience

If you read my blog because you already know me you can skip the next paragraph. I have been made aware of the fact the folks who have never met me are reading this so I feel I need to declare all my “biases”.

I love horses. I grew up in the heart of Alberta ranchland, Pincher Creek, and have cousins and grand-cousins, who “ride out” to work many days. I have a collection of horse sculpture and art. My husband and I bought our first racehorse 32 years ago this summer and we have recently taken delight in showing our grand-daughter the changes in family and friends in our collection of winners’ circle pictures reaching back 3 decades. I have a sister who showed a champion paint horse and participates even in the face of a debilitating neurological disease in horse experiences as often as possible with the help of a circle of people who know the power of a horse experience. John and I have visited many interesting places in the world and had horses featured in most trip itineraries. Just this past December we watched races in Hong Kong (Sha Tin racetrack is a masterpiece as a physical plant holding 65,000 race fans without feeling overwhelmingly crowded) and Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Race Course where we also toured the stables of the Amateur Riding Club and heard about their Hippotherapy Program.

Friday in the early afternoon at the Northlands Farm and Ranch Show I learned about a program I wish I had thought of, the Arabian Horse Literacy Program. I love the pure simplicity at the heart of the concept and the fact it uses many of the educational elements I have championed for so many years. That it changes kids’ lives and is successful at promoting reading is no surprise to me.

Horses and ideas about the educational use of horse themes will continue to show up in this blog. I just never imagined it would begin this way. In the mean time, I send you to look a few of the beautiful and well written horse books I know are available at the Teacher’s Book Depository or through our Edmonton Public Library. The great thing about the topic of horses is the wealth of fact and fiction at all reading levels to capture a child’s imagination.
Briggs, Karen; Crazy for Horses (Scholastic series)
Byars, Betsy Cromer; Little Horse
Chen, Jiang Hong; The Magic Horse of Han Gan
Clutton-Brock, Juliet; Horse (Eyewitness Books series)
Goble, Paul; Mystic Horse and  The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Hutton, Warwick; The Trojan Horse
Little Wolf, Linda; Great Spirit Horse
Lewin, Ted; Horse Song (The Naadam of Mongolia)
Lowell, Susan; Cindy Ellen, A Wild West Cinderella
McCull, Emily Arnold; Wonder Horse (the True Story of the World’s Smartest Horse)
Sharp, Thelma; Saturday Appaloosa Georgia Graham illustrator
Schwartz, Betty Ann (editor); My Kingdom for a Horse: Anthology of Poems About Horses
Simon, Seymour; Horses
Ulmer, Mike; H is for Horse
Van Camp, Richard; What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know about Horses?
Williams, Ursula Moray; The Adventures of a Little Wooden Horse
Yolen, Jane; Pegasus, the Flying Horse

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