FCPS exceptional students learn to ride tall at Graz’n Acres

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The nurturing environment of a classroom is fine and good, but an excursion outdoors to learn
something new … well, that’s an adventure. This is particularly true lately for several of the
Exceptional Education students in Franklin City Public Schools.

An FCPS news release noted that Dever King, the Exceptional Education program director, said there is a group of eight such students riding horses at Graz’n Acres Therapeutic Riding Center in Sedley. As of Oct. 19, there had been two of 10 visits accomplished for the semester; another group will get its turn in the spring.

King affirms that being out of the classroom for those sessions led to memorable excursions.

According to its website, Graz’n Acres offers therapeutic riding among other activities for both
adults and children who have emotional, intellectual, learning and physical disabilities; at-
risk youth with behavioral disorders can also participate.

Before any such FCPS student can venture outside for these sessions, assessments are made with the parents’ input and permission. The farm staff also makes its own observations and develops plans based on what is seen and experienced. These may include “improving fine and gross motor skills.” King added that the children can also “work on their social skills.”

Shonda Turner, who teaches at S.P. Morton Elementary School, reported to King on Oct. 17, “The students are enjoying their lessons at the farm. They toured the barns and saw goats that are kept on the farm. The volunteers showed students different items used to groom horses.

“The children are learning how to mount the horse and give the horse commands to go and stop while completing activities that are related to their goals. All of the students said that their favorite thing about the farm is riding the horses.”