Thank you to Lauren Zeugner at the PAPER for the article about LoveWay’s Barn Buddies virtual programming.
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools in mid-March, LoveWay Inc. in Middlebury became a very quiet place.
Usually during the school year, children from area schools come to LoveWay for class as part of their school day. Other children come in for individual classes in the evenings or Saturday mornings. In an effort to stay connected with their students, LoveWay staff quickly found a way to offer virtual programming.
Called Barn Buddies, these weekly videos offer warm up exercises with Tim Krecsmar, a certified instructor, then a five to 10 minute lesson on all aspects of horses and riding. Lessons are centered around horse nutrition, grooming, tacking and eventually riding. There is even an interactive portion where students can do interactive puzzles, labeling and complete a word search.
Each class has a beginner and advanced work sheets and there’s a PDF version so students can print them out and do them together with their parent, or maybe quiz their parents on their horse knowledge. For the LoveWay team, members were looking for a way to support the special needs community.
Executive Director Shelley Becker explained that students with special needs are very routine oriented. The Barn Buddy classes also support special needs teachers, parents and caregivers. “We found this is something the entire family is sitting down and doing together, “ said Becker .
“Our group of special education kiddos weren’t near ready for elearning, so our teachers were stressed.”
Read more about how LoveWay brought equine-assisted experiences to children in their own living rooms in the PAPER’s June 2, 2020, edition.