DANVILLE — Molly Barnes uses her love of teaching in tandem with her passion for horses at Horses In Education — a small business in Danville.
“I taught special education for a number of years,” Barnes said. “I also was a volunteer at a therapeutic riding school. This is the best of both worlds.”
Horses In Education offers therapeutic riding, trail session, equine assisted learning, and a Special Olympics team for children and adults. The business opened in 2010.
“The kids are just thrilled to come out and learn about the horses,” Barnes said.
Horses In Education is hosted by the Saddle Up Stables in Danville. The two businesses work together to offer a special experience to students who may need a little help or just need a new way to learn.
“Saddle Up Stables is owned by Joyce McCloud,” Barnes said. “She has lots of 4-H riders. Joyce has been just wonderful and very accepting of all of our riders. This is a teaching barn for sure. It’s a really family oriented place. And it really does the trick for our special needs riders.”
Barnes said she has a unique way to help children and adults learn without knowing they are learning.
“That’s the fun part,” she said. “We try to reach the kids and adults with their academic goals. We can help them be more successful in school. We work with some at-risk kids who just need the additional support. They love to be a part of things out here.
“We also hope to offer adult therapeutic lessons during the week. Older adults may have time throughout the day and want to get out and try something new. It also builds self-confidence.”
Barnes said chores around the barn are all part of the program.
“I’ve had parents ask me how I can get kiddos to clean a stall when they can’t even get them to clean a bedroom,” she said. “The goal is to get that to carry over to home. We want the kiddos to take the skills they are learning here with them home and to school.”