Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Elijah front page of Newspaper

SV Riding Club helps youngsters lasso up some fun
By Dana ColeHerald/Review
Published on Tuesday, May 06, 2008
SIERRA VISTA — Some of Carmichael School’s youngsters got to try their hand as wranglers.Carmichael’s special-needs preschoolers recently spent time at the Sierra Vista Riding Club where they dabbled in roping, learned how to brush a horse, were taught safety rules around horses and got to sit tall in a saddle.

Elijah Richins shows his lasso technique during a trip to the Sierra Vista Riding Club by the Carmichael Elementary School’s Special Needs Preschool students. The students learned about horses and life on a ranch.
For some of the children, ranging in age from 3 to 5, it was the first time they had been close to a horse. The buckaroos started their day with a bus ride provided by Sierra Vista Transit. The preschoolers boarded the bus at Carmichael, paid their fares and were transported to the riding cub’s new facility.Preschool teachers Bonnie Welton and Judy Render work with 48 special needs children in the course of one day, in two different sessions.“We have morning and afternoon programs, both are 2 1/2 hours long,” said Welton. “We do as many traditional activities as possible with the kids, but because of their unique needs, all of them have an individual educational plan, or IEP, which is designed specifically for them.”Some are in preschool for speech concerns and work with a speech therapist, while some of the children have more severe physical problems caused by cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries or are developmentally delayed.Goals for the children range from improving academic areas to developing social and emotional skills. Field trips give the students fun hands-on projects, allowing them to work on motor function while improving listening and communication skills.The riding club experience was one of several field trips the youngsters have taken through the year.“We’ve been on a few field trips this year, and the kids love them,” Welton said. “We’ve visited the pumpkin patch in Hereford and Beatty’s Apple Orchard in Miller Canyon. We’ve hiked the San Pedro River and hiked around the Coronado National Memorial where docents spoke to the kids about the history and kinds of plants and animals in the area.”On Thursday the students will be going to The Cove where Buena High School swimmers are going to work with them, giving them swimming pointers.A few of the children are in CANTER’s therapeutic riding program, so those students already had some experience with horses when they visited the riding club.“They learned so much that day,” Welton said. “All the children learned how to brush a horse, how to feed a horse a treat by keeping their hand flat and they got to sit up on a horse.”Alicia Carter, one of the parents who went along to help with the children said, “It was a wonderful day for the kids. They got to feed the horses carrots and we learned about safety around the horses,” Carter said.“Most of these kids don’t ever get to be around horses, so it was a really fun experience for them. They could see that even though the horse is a big animal, it’s really gentle.”Carter’s 5-year-old daughter, Savannah, is enrolled in the preschool program for speech therapy.“She loves horses, so this was a really fun field trip for her,” Carter said.The preschoolers also mounted a child-sized saddle while learning about stirrups and saddle horns. They saw barrel racing and arena riding demonstrations by Brittany Woods and Kelly Borer, while Tombstone Deputy Marshall Charlie Glover taught the youngsters roping with a replica steer.