West Hancock Elementary School’s fourth graders were amazed and maybe even a little intimidated, by the gentle giants of the Britt Draft Horse Show.
Fourth grade teachers Mary Hildman and Renita Kahlstorf took their classes to the horse show Friday afternoon on a field trip, where they toured the stables and horses with guides from the participating horse farms.
Hildman said they bring the fourth graders to the horse show on a field trip every year because it’s a nice behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into preparing a horse for the show.
“They’re always amazed at how big the horses are or they’re always amazed at how much they cost or potentially cost or their trailers and how they travel,” Hildman said. “They’re always amazed that these people do that and they don’t go to school for a little while because they’re traveling and into the horse and all that stuff.”
For Hildman, her favorite part of the tour is when they get to see the horses’ manes get braided, which they’ve been able to see a couple times in the past.
The tour guides for the five groups of fourth graders are usually the kids from the families who own the horses participating in the show, according to Hildman.
Kynseth Zubrod, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Zubrod Percherons of Guthrie, Oklahoma, led a group tp where the Zubrods’ horses were kept for the show, telling the group about the horses and preparing them for a show.
She started the tour by taking the kids to the wagon and cart Zubrod Percherons uses in the show before showing them her cart horse, Lexi, who is about 10 years old, 17 hands or about 6 feet tall.
“Woah!” the six fourth graders all said at once when they saw the draft horse hooked up in the stables.
Zubrod showed the students as much about the horses as she can, from how to tell how old a horse is (look at the size of the horse’s teeth) to where the safe place to stick a finger in the horse’s mouth to why the draft horses’ tails are shorter than other horses’ (their tails are docked to the short length to make it more modern-looking when they are born, though traditionally they were docked so the tails wouldn’t get caught in any equipment, according to Zubrod).
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The fourth graders were then allowed to pet the gentle giant from behind, then pet her nose and finally feed her some hay, all of which one fourth grader, Hayden Kelly, was determined to do despite his fear of horses.
“They’re scary animals,” he said. “They’re vicious.”
Zubrod then took the students through the rest of the stables to meet Electra, Lexi’s 3-year-old daughter, which she used to show the kids the different body parts of a horse and how to measure how big they are.
Then the students were taken to the second stables where the rest of the Zubrods’ horses were kept and where Zubrod told them about keeping horses in stables, feeding them and making sure they’re healthy.
Here she showed them another horse, Jen, which wiggled her lips every time Zubrod wiggled her fingers in front of the large animal’s nose, making the fourth graders laugh.
Finally, they were shown the trailer that carries the Zubrods’ horses to the draft shows.
Zubrod told the kids a little about life on the road as a student, including skipping a few days of class to go to the different events.
At the end of the tour, as the kids were piling back into the bus, Hildman said the tour is “kind of an interesting little trip we do.”