BOONVILLE — First- and fourth-graders at Boonville Elementary School went on a special field trip last week to Astoria Ltd. Equestrian Center as part of the Wild Horse Tails program.
A collaboration between the school, the Boonville Public Library and Victoria Shaw, owner of the equestrian center, the Wild Horse Tails program aims to get kids excited about reading. First-graders at Boonville Elementary were given a copy of the book “Little Black: A Pony” by Walter Farley and fourth-graders received a copy of “The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley.
Shaw brought her horse Lady to the school last month which created a lot of excitement and the students were even more excited for a chance to visit the horse barn. The students were given a tour of the facility, a lesson on the characteristics of the Arabian horse and a chance to read aloud to the horses.
Ginny Stammetti, Shaw’s mother, who helped to organize the event, said she was so pleased to see the students take such an interest in reading. She said when they asked the students about reading the books in “The Black Stallion” series, many of them said they felt it helped them become better readers.
“It’s wonderful to see that, that’s what this is all about, encouraging kids to read through horses,” Stammetti said.
May is Celebrate the Arabian Horse month, Stammetti said, and the children were given a brief lesson on what makes that breed unique.
“It’s great for our breed because in some publications our breed tends to get a bad rap, but these kids are exposed to Arabians in the sense that they’re friendly horses and they’re pretty,” Shaw said. She also said it was a great experience for the children as it was the first time many of them had ever been that close to a horse.
Boonville Librarian Angie Walker said the program had increased interest in reading.
“It’s been great just to see the interest,” she said. “It’s made a big impact just seeing the kids be more involved and coming in to checkout out more books.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.