Horse Sense Literacy

SMART’s Horse Sense Literacy Program is designed to increase the desire of reading in children. Our goal is to spark excitement that will motivate children (and their families) to discover the joys of reading by experiencing a day in the life of our SMART horse, Magic.

The program is set up as a 3 hour Field Trip. On arrival, all children will watch Magic being ridden in a musical freestyle demonstration, and then get to meet, touch, pet and feed him treats, getting to know him and understand how special he is. Magic is blind—and has had his eyes removed---so his disability, as well has his amazing abilities, are obvious to all. When they meet and touch Magic for the first time, the connection will ignite a powerful desire to “know more”. In this new-found magical world of horses, the children will want to question, imagine, learn… and read Magic, One SMART Horse by Jody Lynn McBrien. This book will be provided at no cost to the participants, is rated 4.1 on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level test and is appropriate for 4th grade reading level, Sunshine State Standards.

The remainder of the day’s equine assisted learning activities will include visiting 3 different Learning Stations. Each Learning Station will provide demonstrations and hands on activities that will include meeting different horses and identifying their breeds, colors, and parts of the horse; learning about basic horse behavior and communication; learning about the role that leadership plays when working around horses; and learning about the responsibilities that are involved in owning and caring for horses. The children will have the opportunity to participate in role playing activities and discussion on the book about Magic’s life, the challenges he faced and how he overcame them, and the importance of friendships and having someone to talk to and trust. The children will also get to meet Kaycee, Magic’s horse friend in the book. An emphasis will be placed on promoting an awareness and development of relationships based on empathy and emotional intelligence. They will also be introduced to the concept of therapeutic riding and the benefits received by our students with special needs.

Below are links to some samples of student work and teacher feedback so you can see how this program is benefitting our community!


student book report
student book report
teacher letter

This Program will be provided at no cost to other not-for-profits serving children. SMART works hard to secure funding through grants and sponsorships. If you would like to be a Horse Sense Literacy sponsor, please contact us! We would love to hear from you. 941-322-2000 or

For more information about scheduling a Horse Sense Literacy Field Trip, please call Brandi Ezell at 941-322-2000 or

We gratefully acknowledge the following supporters for providing funding for our Horse Sense Literacy Program!

  • Norman and Phyllis Siskel Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota

  • Mosaic Community Investment Programs

  • The Hagen Family Foundation

  • MSC Foundation

Erin with group    magic and kc