Residents at South Lake Tahoe juvenile treatment center visited by horses |

Residents at South Lake Tahoe juvenile treatment center visited by horses

Students touched and rode horses last week.
Provided / EDCOE

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Residents at the South Lake Tahoe Juvenile Treatment Center last week were visited by horses due to a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and El Dorado County.

BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program partnered with the El Dorado County’s Office of Education and probation department to teach students at the juvenile center about the animals, potential careers and social skills.

Students started the day by learning about the importance of body language and interpersonal communications.

“If you approach a horse’s face quickly, you can see that they become alarmed and tilt their ears back,” explained Amy Dumas, Wild Horse and Burro Program manager. “The same happens when you approach another human’s personal space. It can come across as threatening and start a conflict.”

After lunch, students rode horses while they learned about care, equipment and anatomy.

Some female students who are interested in cosmetology took turns braiding the horses’ hair.

In a press release, EDCOE mentioned an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that said, “Evidence has continued to accumulate resulting in the emergence of a significant body of literature supporting the therapeutic value of the human-companion animal interaction …”

EDCOE Principal Carey Buchannan said the day was a success.

“This was a pilot program to identify feasibility and interest,” Buchannan said. “Since the day was so successful, EDCOE and Probation will follow up with conversations regarding possible options and next steps.”

Buchannan said there are no future horse days planned yet.

For information about EDCOE, visit

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