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Helping Hands Preschoolers Discover World of Horses at Rosewood Ranch

Wagon Wranglers – Helping Hands Preschool children, along with teachers and staff sit in a horse-drawn wagon at Rosewood Ranch on May 3, while Rosewood Ranch manager Eric Hammond gets ready to lead the team of horses.

Helping Hands Preschool children were especially intrigued with one aspect of the horses at Rosewood Ranch when they visited on May 3. They were interested in seeing the shoes being worn by the horses. That’s because “horseshoe” was one of their vocabulary words that they just learned.

“We had shown them some horseshoes in the classroom, but they had never seen a horseshoe on a horse,” explained Shelly Post, preschool teacher for Helping Hands, which provides early childhood education services for USD 428. “Seeing that at Rosewood Ranch made a connection to the word for them. Preschoolers learn more by seeing and doing. We were studying the farm, so that’s why we visited the ranch.”

Showing Shoes – Rosewood Ranch horse therapy instructor Melinda Suppes shows Helping Hands Preschool children a horseshoe on the hoof of one of Rosewood’s therapy horses. The Ranch, located five miles north of Pawnee Rock, conducts equine therapy training throughout the week to approximately 90 adults and children with developmental disabilities. 

More than 100 children visited Rosewood Ranch with Helping Hands teachers and staff taking more than 50 preschoolers in the morning, and then another group of about the same number of children in the afternoon. Besides seeing the horseshoes in use, the children got to observe, brush and pet the horses, they took a horse-drawn wagon ride, and they got to observe other aspects of ranch  life, such as the orchard and vineyard where fruit is grown for Rosewood products.

“We always enjoy having the children visit our ranch,” said Rosewood Ranch manager Eric Hammond. “They are so wide-eyed and curious about the horses and our other ranch animals. They always have so much fun, but I think they learn a lot about ranch life in the process.” 

Post explained that Helping Hands schedules a couple of field trips a month in order to keep the children engaged in activities. Besides Rosewood Ranch, they visit places like the fire station, library, grocery store, art galleries, the zoo, and even pumpkin patches. Twice a year, the children visit people in nursing homes, once during Halloween, explained Post.

As far as ranch life, Post said the children always look forward to visiting Rosewood Ranch and being around the horses.

“They really do enjoy the wagon rides the best,” she explained, “but they like everything about the horses - brushing and petting them, and just seeing and being around them.”

Stretching Out – Helping Hands Preschool children observe equine therapy in action at Rosewood Ranch on May 3.


Find more about Rosewood Services online,


For more information, contact Eric Hammond, Rosewood Ranch, 620-786-1693

May 10, 2018
Story by: Michael Dawes, 785-577-8348,