When Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland, began more than 30 years ago, it was with the mission to not only save equines, but to teach others how to help horses as well. Youth play an integral part in furthering DEFHR’s mission, and two current programs at DEFHR offer great ways for kids to still be involved with DEFHR even when they can’t be there in person: their Homeschool Education Series and Camp-In-A-Box.
With many children across North America staying home for school this fall, adding an equine curriculum is a unique learning opportunity. They can learn all about horses with the DEFHR Homeschool Education Program, which was originally designed for homeschool students and allows participants the opportunity to learn about equines by working through a fun, virtual classroom.
In previous years, the program included hands-on teaching at the farm, but this year all sessions are held virtually until it is determined that on-site programming can resume safely.
An intern at Days End Farm Horse Rescue assists the equine dentist. Dentistry is one of the topics covered in the Homeschool Education Program for children.
“Our homeschool program has been in place for years, but this year it will be especially helpful for those children who can’t attend school and still want to learn about horses and the environment,” said Kate Smith, DEFHR’s Community Outreach Coordinator.
Topics in the program, such as grooming, leading a horse, hoof care, digestive system, dentistry, psychology, and more, change each month and include classroom instruction with virtual activities to reinforce the lesson taught. There are two age levels this year, with each group meeting once a month with age-appropriate activities and instruction, and students may register for the full course or selected sessions. They will also be introducing an environmental topic each month that will relate to both the children and the horses: water, pollution, agriculture, and more.
Learning about horse health is a topic for the Homeschool Education Program for children. While this year’s program is completely virtual, kids can still learn invaluable lessons about horses and their care.
The program is open to children aged five to 17 and is very affordable at just $15 per session or $110 for the series. To register, visit DEFHR.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2012, almost 200 kids have flocked to Days End Farm Horse Rescue to attend their popular day camp. With coronavirus making in-person camp impossible this year, the team at Days End Farm Horse Rescue set their imaginations toward dreaming up a fun way to keep kids engaged with the horses and education at DEFHR.
Quizzle is one of the 2,600 horses that has gone through Days End Farm Horse Rescue. Education is one of main facets of the DEFHR mission.
A shift in focus was needed to stay connected virtually with the children who get so much from DEFHR and their horses, to keep them inspired and committed. The perfect solution? Camp-In-A-Box.
Each child’s Camp-In-A-Box includes hands-on projects, DIY experiments, online videos, and activities revolving around the DEFHR horses. Campers will also find out why caring for the environment is important at DEFHR. Each week’s activities center around an environmental theme as part of “WE CARE” (water, erosion, composting, agriculture, recycling, and ecology = WE CARE). WE CARE invites children to discover how caring for the environment also gives back to the horses.
Boxes are mailed out each month for kids to learn and enjoy in the new Camp-In-A-Box program at DEFHR.
Campers will receive trading cards of their favorite horses, an official camp shirt and bag, a field journal, and a field notes guide, along with other goodies for hands-on learning from home, such as stickers, books, magazines, and more. The first week’s box also includes a “WE CARE Ambassador” certificate and pledge card. Each box comes with a pin to display on their camp bag; earn a new pin for each week and collect all six! Activities are ideal for ages 5-12 years old, but teenagers who have a passion for the environment may also enjoy the boxes.
Ten fun items are included in the first Camp-In-A-Box!
“Whether it’s at the farm or at their home, we want our campers to have an inspiring experience and feel connected to the horses they love,” said Wetzelberger. “Camp-In-A-Box was our innovative answer to keeping our campers engaged from a safe distance this summer and beyond. This program also allows us to educate youth anywhere in the world, at any time, from the comfort of their home.
“DEFHR knows that the future of equine and animal welfare lies within our youth communities,” added Wetzelberger. “Any opportunity for us to teach them about the importance of caring for the environment, each other, and animals is something we will continue to pursue and a program we are committed to growing.”
The best part about Camp-In-A-Box is that it is not just a summer offering. It is ongoing throughout the year; each week’s box builds on the previous box and kids can keep going, learning more about horses and the world around them.
The cost of the first box is $100; each week thereafter is $30. You can sign up for all of the boxes for $225 or pay week to week. To register, just email email@example.com or call +1 (301) 854-5037.
For questions about either program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Days End Horse Farm Rescue
For more than three decades, Days End Farm Horse Rescue has been renowned for working to not only prevent equine abuse and neglect, but also to educate the public about equine welfare and help their staff, volunteers, and members of the public become better horsemen and women. Learn more about DEFHR‘s adoptable horses as well as their numerous education and volunteer opportunities. Visit www.defhr.org or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Words by Jennifer Wood. Photos courtesy Days End Farm Horse Rescue and Jump Media.