WARREN, NJ - The weather outside may have been cold, wet and dreary but inside Mt. Horeb Elementary School in Warren, NJ on Tuesday, October 22, the preschool students were sunny with warm smiles and full of joy and love for Michelangelo, the miniature horse from Hope’s Promise Farm in Chester, NJ.
Doris Zanchelli, school nurse and the Mt. Horeb Parent Teacher Organization worked together to invite Maureen Coultas “Ms. Maureen”, the Director of the Farm and an International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor to come and introduce Michelangelo to the children.
Prior to the students participating in the presentation, Coultas gently brushed Michelangelo’s hair and walked him around the room to acclimate him to the new environment. As if he wasn’t cute enough he also wore tiny, black and white shoes purchased from Build a Bear to keep from slipping on the floor.
After the students entered the room and took a seat, Coultas introduced Michelangelo to the children. She explained that he was not a pony but a 6-year-old miniature horse and that one of his purposes was to help people feel better. Coultas asked that each student imagine a time when they were not feeling well, she then walked Michelangelo around the room. In some cases, Michelangelo stopped to brush up against a student or placed his nose upon a student’s forehead. No matter the interaction, Coultas highlighted the fact that each student was smiling.
Coultas went on to describe what Michelangelo’s life is like on the farm and beyond. She showed the children a book that illustrated his life starting from the day he was born. Michelangelo enjoys traveling to establishments like schools, nursing homes, hospitals and group homes where children and adults can learn more about miniature horses. Mt. Horeb students learned that Michelangelo sleeps in a stall, eats hay, and that he likes to visit inside Coultas’s home for breakfast!
Before the conclusion of the visit, each preschooler was invited to come up and pet Michelangelo. At first, some of the children were apprehensive but with each passing moment those fears began to subside and by the end, just about every child took the opportunity to get a closer look at the tiny horse.
This experience was sure to have been an unforgettable one for the preschool students at Mt. Horeb School. For more information about Michelangelo and the rest of the horses on Hope’s Promise Farm please visit http://www.hopespromisefarm.com/ .
Photos courtesy of Warren Township Schools
1. Maureen Coultas, Director of Hope’s Farm takes a few minutes with Michelangelo, the miniature horse, to acclimate him to Mt. Horeb School.
2. Michelangelo’s stylish shoes!
3. Michelangelo stops to have a special moment with Madeline Mansour.
4. Lyla Chavez and Paolo Spadoto are smiling as they get to pet, Michelangelo accompanied by Paraprofessional, Ms. Silvia Gebala.
5. Olivia Wu, Nathan Lee and Giorgi Gugushvili gently pat Michelangelo while it’s their turn.
6. Regis Chen and Ms. Lisa Pravato, Paraprofessional, get close enough to pat Michelangelo while Ms. Maureen lends a helpful hand.