Robesonia, Pennsylvania – In the Conrad Weiser High School Agriculture Department, student Laura Burkhart has a keen interest in horses and wanted to share her experiences with other students. With that in mind and through the help of her teachers, Laura organized a student equine crew and decided to foster a local rescue horse.
“Horses have never been something that many kids get to experience in schools. I love horses and think they are such wonderful animals. I believe that by allowing children to experience them in a safe environment like school helps. Many kids do not get the chance to be with horses; this program allowed them to,” stated Laura about her experience.
Laura and her staff searched and planned to bring a horse into their new program and went to a local, all-breed horse rescue Another Chance 4 Horses in nearby Bernville. On a chilly Saturday morning, students chose Shimmer, a diluted gene pony. Everyone loved Shimmer; she warmed up to the students, and the education of caring for a horse began.
“I taught proper everyday care (stalls,watering, feeding,etc.), health care (wounds, diseases, illnesses), and other basic things like lounging, polo wraps, and more. Every week I would put out a newsletter with a new topic, and when possible I tried to actually show it. My crew of about 15 people helped me a lot with taking care of her. We split up the days, and I got a lot of help and good responses from them. We hoped to socialize Shimmer in hopes she would get a good home,” explained Laura.
Shimmer became a part of the Agricultural Department at Conrad Weiser High School in December and stayed with Laura until Spring. She helped to show students the kind of commitment and the time it takes to be a responsible horse owner. Students learned how to groom, feed and provide the horse with fresh water and individual nutritional needs. Stalls had to be cleaned daily, and there was never a day off from providing this horse with care. Students learned to handle a horse, which included haltering and walking. Laura and Shimmer showed others not to be afraid of horses, despite their sizes as long as they are handled correctly.
“Having Shimmer was a very positive experience, and I am so pleased to have been a part of it, however I could not have done any of this if it was not for my two teachers Mr. Adam Serfass and Mr. John Seifert. They both have helped with taking care of her and just giving me the opportunity to start something new. They both jumped in feet first and were so willing to help me further my studies in the equine field. Also, I would like to thank my crew and everyone who has helped with Shimmer. I could not have done this without everyone that I had behind me,” continued Laura.
Christy Sheidy, co-founder of Another Chance 4 Horses was thrilled that a rescue horse found her way into the hearts of so many students. One of the most important parts of the many programs offered at the rescue is education and the proper care and training needed for all horses.
“The shool, the teachers, the parents, and the students have brought so much to this one little pony who can now be ridden bareback, English, and Western disciplines. Shimmer is easy to ride and just loves attention. Another Chance 4 Horses is proud to have been involved with such a positive experience that brings more education and respect for these wonderful animals,” stated Christy about the experience. “I hope another horse has the same opportunity soon.”
Congratulations Laura – on a job well-done!