Rustic Renewal Riding visits Westside Elementary School

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2023

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Westside Elementary School students who took part in the Summer Literacy Camp got a special treat last Thursday, June 29 when Rustic Renewal Riding visited the school.

Horses, Gambler and Grace, helped to demonstrate “the magic of letters and words” and reinforced the lessons students learned during the literacy camp. Grace, a 10-year-old pony, had the letter “E” painted on her side and used the letter to turn one word into another such as “man” into “mane” and “rip” into “ripe.”

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Fifteen-year-old Gambler helped out with nouns and adjectives to turn a story into something silly with the use of Mad Libs. Mad Libs involve prompting others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story before reading aloud.

After story time and Grace’s lesson on changing words by adding the letter “E”, students were allowed to pet the horses and ask questions.

The Rustic Renewal Riding Center is a family-owned non-profit organization in Sweet Water, AL, that provides people of all ages and abilities with the opportunity to work with horses. The RRRC got its start in early 2020 when Smith was offered an opportunity to receive training at the Red Barn Horse Therapy in Leeds, AL, and Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa.

The RRRC offers hippotherapy, which is a form of physical, occupational, and speech therapy that uses equine (horse) movement to develop and enhance neurological and physical functioning by channeling the movement of the horse.

The center is owned by Brad and Leanne Smith and operates on their farm.