Educational Activities

The Horse Tales Literacy Program


The Horse Tales Literacy Program is a nationally acclaimed literacy program that uses the excitement of horses to ignite a lifelong love of reading. First graders are introduced to "Little Black" in their own schoolyard and each are given their very own copy of Walter Farley’s classic tale, "Little Black, A Pony." Children are encouraged to study and read the tale because in 4 - 6 weeks they will be coming out to Valley water Mill Park Equestrian Center to see "Little Black" and meet "Big Red." Children will then read their favorite part of the story to the horses at the Equestrian Center and participate in a rotational activity program to learn about nutrition, healthcare, grooming, hoof care and horse equipment. After the presentations, children go back to school with their second forever book, "Little Black goes to the Circus." Cost is $10 per child to cover the expense of the books. Teachers may contact Lynn VandenBerg for more information.

Horse Shoe I & II (Sheriff's Horsemanship Outreach & Education)


Students learn common safety rules around horses, safely approaching a horse, safely haltering, leading, the basics of grooming, saddling, and beginning riding techniques. The goal of these classes is to develop good safe skills through repetition so students can progress with confidence. Both of these classes are a prerequisite to private or group lessons. Each class consists of four one-hour lessons. Limit of 8 per class.

Summer Camp


Children will be immersed in equestrian activities all day long. Daily barn chores, riding, grooming and handling lessons are combined with activities such as crafts, obstacle courses and horse soccer. Each student is responsible for their assigned horse for the week. Campers showcase their skills during a practice "Horse Show" on each Friday afternoon. Bring a lunch and light snack each day. Camps may be repeated as students progress at their own rate. Limit of 8 per session.

School’s Out Pony Play Day


When SPS schools are away, it's time to play! From outdoor games to horse lead line rides, children will be actively engaged all day long in activities such as:
  • Crafts
  • Learning about horse care
  • Movies
  • Petting live ponies
  • Stick horse races
Child/counselor ratio no higher than 12:1. Drop off starts at 7 a.m./pick up no later than 5:30 p.m. Campers need to bring a lunch, snack and water bottle. Jeans and boots/tennis shoes are preferred. Limit of 30.

My Little Pony


It’s the perfect introduction for your pre-school aged children to determine if they really like horses. This class will teach basic safety, grooming, saddling and leading techniques. Ponies are provided. Class may be repeated until students are ready to progress into more advanced programs. 1:1 student teacher ratio.

Youth or Adult Lessons/Private or Group (Intermediate)


Participants must have successfully completed Horse SHOE I and II. Riders will be developing skills to progress on becoming independent in and out of the saddle. Pre-registration is required and purchased in a set of 4 lessons.

Field Trips


Educators are invited to bring their classes out to learn more about what goes on at a horse barn. Lesson plans and activities can be provided for 1st through 5th grades. Tours consist of one hour of instruction and 30 minutes of tour and getting to pet the horses. We also welcome groups that serve senior citizens or those with special needs for some fun activities for horse lovers. Reservations for groups must be made in advance. Teachers may contact Lynn VandenBerg for more information.