FERRIS — Ferris High School students met at the ag barn Friday morning to attend their last few lectures and prepare to wrap up the first semester of the equine science program, which has been deemed a success for the students and the rescue horses they have bonded with over the past several months.

Ag teacher Tracy Krueger has worked with Dawn Walsh of Never-E-Nuff Acres to give students a hands-on experience with the animals.

“Next week is it and all the horses that are not adopted will go back. Gingersnap and Blossom are the only ones without adoption papers filled out,” Krueger said. “For next year, Dawn (Walsh) hooked me up with another rescue to provide horses for us.”

She said she will work with the kids that adopt their horses over the summer to go through horsemanship and help them to train the horses to ride, saying some of the horses have never been ridden. The group will meet Tuesday mornings and students will be allowed to keep the horses at the site.

Merlin Allmon, of Merlin’s Horseshoeing, met with the class Friday morning to discuss hoof care and demonstrate trimming techniques. He said he has been a farrier for 15 years.

“I got out of the military and went to Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School in Ardmore. I stayed there about a year and a half as an instructor,” Allmon said.

He questioned the kids about the anatomy of the horse’s foot and walked them through the trimming process step by step including the appropriate way to lift the leg to keep the horse on balance and the necessity of hoof care every six to eight weeks. He explained they have to be patient with the horses and show them what is going to be done.

Walsh, who provided the rescue horses for the students to work with, said she is not at all surprised by the success of the program.

“The kids have bonded with their individual horses. Almost each one wants to adopt, which wasn’t our intent (in doing the program),” she said, saying she was very pleased. “Those who want to adopt and whose parents are on board will get to adopt.”

Of all the horses in the program, Walsh said Gingersnap, a horse that had suffered severe abuse before coming to the rescue, had come the farthest. The horse looked healthy and sleek and welcomed the touch and attention of Tracey Weldon, who has worked with her throughout the semester.

“I felt from the beginning she would be the horse that would benefit the most and she has. Tracey has done a phenomenal job,” Walsh said. “All the kids are planning to come and help at the rescue.”

Kelsey DeLaCruz said she has bonded with her horse, Trixie, and plans to participate over the summer.

“I’m sad to see the program come to an end. I’m adopting Trixie and will always have her. The bond I have with her is so great.” Kelsey said. “It takes a caring and devoted student with patience, but I would recommend this class to a lot of people.”

Megan Lord said initially when the class started they didn’t know they would have real horses to work with. She is going to adopt Daily and said she is changing her name to Saphira Venitia since she has an SV on her back leg. She said her parents were initially leery about adopting but that changed once they became attached to one another.

“If we work with the horses here over the summer I can keep her here and it is close and a good place,” she said, saying she had done some riding but never worked with horses before. “The closer they get, they almost talk to you. You can almost hear them and know what they are feeling.”

Krueger has received approval to continue the equine programs next year. She said the class is limited to 12 students – and 19 have applied for next year. Students must go through an application and interview process and understand the commitment required to participate.

“This has been as much of a healing experience for these kids as the horses. Some of these kids have really been touched,” Krueger said. “A program like this give kids something to do. It’s positive.”

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.