An Equine Assisted Learning Program for At Risk Youth Cowboy Poetry

Image Cowboy Poetry

A Gift of the Pentair Foundation

A transformational eight week learning program has been made available to middle school students from the Elkhorn and Delavan Darien School Districts. As a result of a very generous grant from the Pentair Foundation, Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills, Inc., (SMILES), has been able to offer this program to area youth.

This specialized curriculum provides a learning experience outside of the traditional classroom. Horsemanship, and the life of the cowboy, provide a historic and an experiential framework for encouraging developmental assets, and character education.

As students develop their skills within a relationship with equine partners and human mentors, they grow in an understanding of the importance of certain assets and traits. Courage, Responsibility, Respect, Cooperation, Attitude, Alertness, Confidence…..the Cowboy Code encourages them and reminds them of values and ethics that are unchanging, and that provide a foundation for life.

SMILES is honored to have shared time with these young people. We are proud of the dramatic ways that these students have grown, and the ways that they were willing to take risks and attempt new things. We were thrilled to see them take pride in their accomplishments, and we delighted at their surprise at their own capabilities.

As cowboys know, partnership is essential. Within partnership, much can be accomplished.