Book reading program at Cave Creek Animal Rescue to help children


A book-reading program at a Cave Creek animal shelter helps with rehabilitation — not just for readers, but for listeners as well.

Healing Hearts Horse Rescue’s Books in the Barn program involves school-age children reading to a unique audience: horses. And they are all ears.

“It’s a wonderful experience for the child and the horse,” said Jennifer Braumbaugh, executive director of the nonprofit. “It allows the child to read without any judgement, they can work on their literacy skills and the horses benefit from the children and are stimulated.”

Braumbaugh says the goal is to make horses more social.

“It’s pretending, it’s really good for them,” the director said. “Our goal is to adopt them into a forever home, so any daily interaction with children with families helps them learn appropriate behaviors and calm down.”

Over 1,000 children have participated since the program began in 2013, and hundreds of horses have found healing and new homes.

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