The program, which teaches incarcerated young men how to care for horses using three Standardbreds from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation is run by former trainer Ken Lyon. There are 12 young men in the program, in two daily sessions. The evaluation is required for every career program, to ensure that they are aligned with industry standards and to suggest community resources that will assist in running effective programs.

Harvey toured the three stall barn and adjacent classroom, as well as the fenced pasture for the three horses, Dr. Jo Plumstead, Petranka and Trandenfer Semalu. The students were not in attendance during the evaluation. None of the students has ever brought any experience with horses to the program, but are taught all basic horse care skills and some are able to learn to jog the horses.

"Some of these kids are even afraid of bugs," said Lyon. "So you can imagine how they feel about horses. I've seen some of them, in as little as 90 minutes, go from running out of the field in fear, to approaching a horse and putting the lead shank on them. Our horses are cared for and shine like they're race horses and that's from the work these kids put in to them."

Harvey suggested that the facility's horticulture program plant some shade trees in the horses' paddock and a small shelter be constructed until the trees are mature. Installation of a bath stall would also give the students a more viable means to bathe horses in winter. She will also work with Lyon to develop speakers and resources in the New Jersey Standardbred and equine communities to expand the students' breadth of knowledge.

Source: US TROTTING ASSOCIATION