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Animal Therapy

Animal Therapy

Animals at Boulder Creek Academy

Our campus is home to a variety of animals ranging from horses to dogs. At Boulder Creek Academy, animals are a unique part of an educational and therapeutic strategy that helps our students develop important social and emotional skills, especially amongst each other, as they work collaboratively to care for the animals.

Boulder Creek Academy features:

  • Therapeutic horseback riding
  • Animal husbandry
  • Shelter dog rehabilitation training
  • Horticulture

Here are some examples of how working with animals benefits our students:

Reading Body Language
Girl hugging horseHorses communicate extensively through body language and make excellent teachers. Notice what a horse is doing with his tail. Is it hanging relaxed or gently swishing at flies? This is normal. However, if he is wringing his tail or swishing it rapidly, then the horse is annoyed or irritated. Is the tail clenched tightly against his hindquarters? This is a sign of fear or nervousness. An elevated tail means high spirits. The more time students spend with the horses the more they will be able to understand what the horse is thinking or feeling. Working with horses is a great way for our students to practice reading body language.

Boy hugging a newborn animalWhen we have newborn animals on campus, they are helpless and depend on our students to provide them with the necessities of life. We often observe animals’ trust in our students. For instance, when a dog trusts a student, it allows the student to rub its tummy.

Girl riding a horseHorses are outstanding when it comes to teaching students self-control. For example, how do you stand your ground when you may be scared of a larger body? How can you control something bigger than yourself and do it without losing the respect of the one you need to address?

Boy holding a dog in the airStudents work to train dogs from animal shelters that have never been taught basic commands. Students learn the value of patience and understanding as they practice the same command repeatedly to train the animal. If a student loses patience a dog, it will not react positively to the training. Moreover, the positive-feedback training techniques used by students instill a sense of leadership and responsibility.

Meet Our Equine Staff

Feathers – Behavior Specialist

Feathers, Behavior SpecialistFeathers has been with Boulder Creek Academy for several years and specializes in teaching students about attitude, self-control and emotional communication. She is inspired by students who are calm, relaxed and practicing patience with her. In her spare time, she likes to hang with her other horse buddies and share tips about student behaviors over a game of swish your tail.

Tater Tot – Director of Hay

Tater Tot, Director of HayTater Tot is our 13-year-old Haflinger/quarter horse cross. He is our newest equine staff member and his responsibilities include training students to horseback ride and the keys to positive animal communication. His calm demeanor and dry sense of humor make him a student favorite and his hobbies include hay tasting, horse fashion blogging, and Scrabble.

Tux – Communication Director

Tux, Communication DirectorAs our Equine Communication Director, Tux specializes in communication and teaching students the value of reading body language. He is 17, which he finds beneficial in allowing him to find common ground with our 13–18-year-old student body. Tux was a professional show horse for 13 years where he learned that it’s not about what you look like, it’s about who you are on the inside.

Moonshadow Agate – Fashion Director

Moonshadow Agate, Fashion DirectorMoonshadow Agate is the newest member of our equine therapy staff. She is a 17-year-old registered Quarter horse and has spent the majority of her career teaching in the adolescent therapeutic community. Her friendly demeanor, unusual smoky gray coloring, and dorsal stripe have earned her the unofficial title of Fashion Director. Aggie is always up for a chat and, being a teenager herself, finds she has much in common with our students and their many interests. In her spare time, Aggie can be found hanging out at the local feed store and blogging about the latest equine fashion trends.

Sonny and Spot

Sonny and Spot, Sonny (half blind quarter horse) and Spot (miniature burro donkey) are the newest addition to Boulder Creek’s Equine Team. We now talk about them as one, “Sonny and Spot.”

On a cold snowy day in February 2019, a little donkey named Spot came to live at Boulder Creek Academy. Although Spot was nervous, afraid and others saw him as odd and different, he was hopeful that he would make friends. Unfortunately, they chased him away so frequently, Spot began to stay inside alone most of the time. Sonny began to take notice. Being visually impaired himself, having lost his left eye, he understood how it felt to be different. Sonny began to follow Spot around to look after him and keep him safe until all of the others learned to see the best of Spot.

Eventually, with Sonny’s help, Spot found his place in the social hierarchy at Boulder Creek and is now loved and accepted by everyone. One little donkey and a half-blind quarter horse taught a powerful lesson of tolerance and acceptance to the humans of this community.

Reach out to Boulder Creek Academy Today

We feature strong academics, small class sizes and dedicated and knowledgeable teachers and clinicians. For more than two decades, Boulder Creek Academy has been helping students all over the United States and internationally to reach their full potential. Call us today at 877-348-0848 to begin the admissions and enrollment process.