Have Mercy, Take the Reins!

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By Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

As Mercy stood under the shade of a tree at Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette County), children lined up beside her, some giddy with excitement, others nervous.

“She’s so big,” they said to their teachers.

Mercy, a rescued Belgian draft horse, is rather large. She stands around 18 hands high – or 6 feet at the shoulder. The children nervously approaching to pet her barely reach the top of her legs.

Mercy is the spokesmodel for Take the Reins, a service learning program that attempts to show students different career paths within the equine industry.

“It’s about saving horses and the horse industry,” said Julius Marks Elementary Principal Lynn Poe, who is writing the curriculum for the project. “We want to allow the students to be subjected to jobs that the horse industry brings to Kentucky, especially because this is horse country. And it means the students are fostering a horse.”

The project came about after Poe was approached by staff members from the Equine Humane Center approached Poe to start the pilot at Julius Marks.

“This is a dream come true,” says Poe as she watches the students and Mercy, with tears in her eyes.

Staff members of Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette) pose with Mercy, the spokesmodel for "Take the Reins," a service learning project piloted at Julius Marks dedicated to showing students different paths in the equine related industry. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Staff members of Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette County) pose with Mercy, the spokesmodel for Take the Reins, a new service learning project being piloted at Julius Marks dedicated to showing students different paths in the equine industry. The school’s principal, Lynn Poe, is writing the curriculum for the project. 
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Trenady Brown, a special ed. student at Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette) reacts after petting Mercy, a rescued Belgian draft horse who acts as the spokesmodel for "Take the Reins." Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Student Trenady Brown reacts after petting Mercy, a rescued Belgian draft horse.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Helen Weber, a special ed. student at Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette), pets Mercy, a rescured Belgian draft horse, who serves as the spokesmodel for Take the Reins. Take the Reins serves to introduce students to different job opportunities inside the equine industry. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Student Helen Weber pets Mercy, a rescued Belgian draft horse, who serves as the spokesmodel for Take the Reins. Take the Reins serves to introduce students to different job opportunities inside the equine industry.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Emonie Ethridge and Analia Guillen pet Mercy during her visit to Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette) as a spokesmodel for Take the Reins. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Emonie Ethridge and Analia Guillen pet Mercy during her visit to Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette County) as a spokesmodel for Take the Reins. 
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Students from Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette) are helped by Karen Gustin as they pet Mercy, a rescued Beligan draft horse as she visited the school. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016
Students from Julius Marks Elementary (Fayette County) are helped by Karen Gustin as they pet Mercy, a rescued Belgian draft horse, as she visited the school.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Aug. 29, 2016

 

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