Nearly 100 first graders from McGehee had the unusual experience of reading to horses during a recent visit to the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

The event was part of the Horse Tales Literacy Project (formerly The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation), which, according to the organization’s website,  “helps children discover the joys of reading and the excitement of learning through the wonders of live horses and the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley, as well as other classic horse literature.”

The students and their teachers were brought to the UAM rodeo arena where they were able to interact with horses used by members of the university’s rodeo team. After reading, the students were able to learn how to tack a horse, how to feed and care for a horse, how to groom a horse, and how a horse’s feet are cared for by a farrier.

The Horse Tales Literacy Foundation is a partnership of educators, businesses, volunteers, education foundations, and staff members focused on promoting literacy through the combination of live horses and classic horse literature.

“This was a wonderful experience, not only for the kids, but for our students and faculty who were involved in the activity,” said Dr. Whitney Whitworth, associate professor of animal science at UAM.