Children enrolled in the Horse Care program attend four – two hour classes where they learn all aspects of care and grooming of horses. Through a process of observation and interaction, children are paired with a horse at the first class. A relationship develops as children work with the same horse for the four classes. The goal is to not only teach a child about a horse’s needs, but to foster empathy, develop non-verbal communication skills and a sense of responsibility. Additionally, children participate in community service types of task related to caring for horses such as stall cleaning, refilling water buckets, sweeping and straightening tack room and inspecting the stalls for any safety issues.
The Horse Care program curriculum covers the following topics:
- Safety instruction
- Observation of horse behavior and selection of horse
- Haltering and leading
- Horse psychology and body language
- Horse anatomy, care and grooming
- Hoof structure, care and cleaning
- Body Condition Score
- Stall and arena cleaning
Children must have attended the Intro to Horses class prior to attending the Horse Care program. Once a child completes the Horse Care program, CHAPS staff can recommend he/she enter the Horsemanship program or attend Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or Equine Assisted Learning.