Horse Sense Literacy

Literacy 2

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 two hour field trip. On arrival, all students get to meet Magic, up close and personal! This encourages the students to truly understand how extraordinary 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 ignites a powerful desire to “know more”.  In this new-found magical world of horses, the children will question, imagine, learn… and read Magic, One SMART Horse by Jody Lynn McBrien.


Horse Sense Book
Magic Book Cover

This book is provided at no cost to the participants, thanks to a generous donor, and 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 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 basic horse behavior and communication; learning the role leadership plays when working around horses; and learning responsibilities 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. An emphasis will be placed on promoting an awareness and development of relationships based on empathy and emotional intelligence. They will be introduced to the concept of therapeutic riding and the benefits received by our students with special needs.

Cost per student is $10. SMART works hard to secure funding through grants and sponsorships. Please contact us if you would like to be a Horse Sense Literacy sponsor or for more information about scheduling a Horse Sense Literacy Field Trip.


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

Program Supporters

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
Phyllis Siskel

Thank you to Phyllis Siskel for being the Horse Sense Literacy program Book Benefactor.

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