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BOOK INFORMATION

Over the course of the last 6 years many student stories have touched the lives and hearts of all of the volunteers and staff involved in Reaching for the Reins. To share these stories with a broader audience, Tara Carlsen has compiled the students' stories into a memoir on their individual and collective successes. Mrs. Carlsen has pledged all proceeds of the book to perpetuate service-learning programs. Publishing rights are currently being pursued.

Reaching for the Reins began as an educator's attempt to offer an alternative to the stale, clinical approach of classroom instruction in the American public school. The vision of a mathematics teacher, failing at-risk students from an alternative school were transplanted to a horse ranch and their education supplemented with equine assisted learning activities. During the first phase the students received instruction on the basics of horsemanship through equine assisted learning, a therapeutic approach to interpersonal development using horse related activities. Once through this first stage the students then taught a group of students with special needs the knowledge they'd learned, channeling their own struggles and triumphs to overcome adversity and discover success. Punctuated with humor, heartbreak and a hard-won triumph, Reaching for the Reins chronicles the struggles and successes of these students' over five years of the program.