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Horses helping students achieve in school

May 14, 2008 By SAMUEL KING WSBT-TV Reporter

BUCHANAN (WSBT) Horses are helping local students improve their performance. The Reaching for the Reigns program has brought together alternative high school students from Niles and special needs students from the St. Joseph area. The program is housed at the Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Buchanan. For 18 weeks, students from the Cedar Lane Alternative School in Niles have learned all about horses. We brush 'em to make sure we have all the dirt and stuff off of him, and he looks nice, said Jonathan Wagner, a student. They were out here in rain, they were out here in some snow, we had some cold fingers, we had some cold toes, said Danielle Guerlich with the Therapeutic Equestrian Center. But they still stuck with it and were dedicated to this program. A few months ago, special needs students from the Lighthouse Educational Center in St. Joseph began working with the students from Cedar Lane. I learned new things about horses, I learned how to take care of them, how to feed them how to ride them, said Corey Wisingner, a student at the center. The horses provided an incentive for the students to improve their grades and behavior. I take my work more seriously, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to come out here and work with Bojack, (the horse) and Zach, the kid I work with, Wagner said. Their teachers say the students have already thought about how to use what they learned to make their future brighter. They've learned to cooperate with each other, said Tara Carlsen, a teacher at Cedar Lane. They've learned the amount of time and effort it takes to work at a non-profit organization. They've learned confidence. The Cedar Lane students have done other community outreach projects. TEC hosts other groups of students throughout the year.