2 new teachers at LEAD program

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 3:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Quest and Red are the newest additions to the LEAD Program. The two horses were donated for their calm demeanor and will soon be working with children of all ages. LEAD stands for Leadership, Education, and Active Development.

Officially called Lead with Horses, the therapeutic program has been in south Reno since 2015 as a non-profit organization. This is not a therapeutic riding program.

Instead, students learn from the ground as they interact with the horses during weekly hour-and-a-half sessions.

“Horses are extremely sensitive animals,” says Jeane Spada-Allgood, LEAD Executive Director. “They are social animals, and you can’t lie to a horse. They know what is going on in our hearts and in our minds.”

Working with the horses, the children can learn patience, teamwork, and empathy.

The children lead the horse to each station in an arena and talk about how the horse is reacting, what they are feeling and why. They can also put themselves, and the horses through their paces by going through obstacles.

Children come from all walks of life, and can be referred to the program by teachers, counselors, or organizations. Currently LEAD is preparing for their summer camp season which includes all age groups and goes until August.

It may not be apparent at first to the kids exactly what they are learning here. But one student who has taken these classes before says he has noticed a difference in how he interacts with others.

“Yea, I am a little more patience. I am calmer. I don’t get mad as much,” says Duncan Sonderfan, an 11-year-old with LEAD.

That may be due to the teachers themselves. The horses are selected for their calm personality, and their tolerance and their acceptance of all who enter the arena. Of course, there are some safety rules students go over before class starts.

But after that it’s a hands-on experience that goes right to the head and heart.

You can find more information here: https://leadwithhorses.com/