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Program Connects New Students To The U.S.

Karyn Czar

Some students from Lansdowne Elementary are spending the summer learning about horses and the new country they call home. 

One by one, 19 elementary students carefully walked up to Millie, a tiny horse who was found starving in an open field in eastern Kentucky. She’s healthy now but still a little shy around a crowd. But so are these kids. Most of them have never been around a horse. Karen Gusten with the Kentucky Equine Humane Center helps them both earn the other’s trust.

And there’s more to the ‘Take the Reins’ project than just touring a barn and petting a horse. These students are refugees who’ve been in the country less than a year and some are still mastering English. They come from Syria, Nepal and the Congo.

Betty Simson is the Lansdowne Elementary summer camp’s director. “These students have been in the United States for a very short time. So we try not only to support them not only academically but to get them out into the community because that’s where they really make connections and learn.”

The Kentucky Equine Humane Center rescues horses, rehabilitates and finds new homes for them. The center began their educational camps last fall.