Oklahoma Blind Students Get Hands-On Lessons With Horses

Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 5:38 pm
By: Craig Day

The school for the blind in Muskogee does amazing work, making a difference in the lives of kids from all over our state.

Wednesday, the kids got out of the classroom and into a livestock arena in Haskell in Muskogee County.

For one day, the Silver Spur Western Lodge, was the classroom for students like William Winston, a kid who loves to sing, and who is developing a love of horses and Oklahoma's Western lifestyle.

He's one of 100 students from Oklahoma's School for the Blind who learned about horses, other animals and roping, while lassoing a hands-on lesson.

"For me, it helps me learn better to do hands on, than just learning it out of a book," another student, Lauren Morales said.

The event, sponsored by the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, is all about giving students who are blind or visually impaired an opportunity to learn through senses other than sight.

"Some kids who are just starting elementary can come out here and enjoy what they never got to do," said student Joey Owens.

Linda Graber volunteers at the school where her granddaughter, Sara, attends.

Graber said she is passionate about these kids, their education and their futures.

"There's nothing they can't do. They just have to do it a little differently, and it may take a while longer than a sighted child, but they can still do the same things," Graber said.

Not only are horses and mechanical bulls more interesting than math for the kids, but there are also life lessons here.

"They take a lesson away from, every year that they come, and the lesson would be that even though we are blind, we can still do things," said student Jennifer Ratliff.

It's an important thing for the kids to know, but it's also a good lesson for others who may have their sight, but no vision for what these students can accomplish.

"Sad to say, the general public has an idea that blind children can't do a lot, but they can. And it's amazing what they can do," Graber said.