Bulkeley High School

Matthew Espinosa, Principal

SpiritHorse at Bulkeley

A Unique Vocational Agricultural Program on a Farm Setting

A Unique Collaboration

Bulkeley High School is pleased to announce a unique collaboration with SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center in Canton CT. Located on 40 acres of bucolic farmland with expansive panoramic views, our students are given the opportunity to experience learning in an alternative to the traditional classroom setting.

Twice weekly, students are transported by school bus where they learn barn and animal care, and the focus is on teamwork and building connections.  A collateral benefit is that students are able to build safe connections with their peers and adults which in turn translates to success both inside and out of school. Job coaches are all trained to provide support to our students in this therapeutic milieu. 

charles with dog
students standing by fence

Benefits to Students

    • Receive training and support in animal care (therapeutic horses and ponies, goats, and chickens), barn care, landscaping, and gardening
    • Learn how to prepare gardens, plant, cultivate and harvest cut flowers and vegetables, care for chickens, and collect eggs
    • Learn and strengthen English language and literacy skills outside of the traditional classroom
    • Receive a stipend at the end of each cycle
    • Work in cooperative teams that support one another
    • Improve regular school attendance and school performance

About SpiritHorse

SpiritHorse has developed a research-based program of equine-assisted healthcare, which has a different goal than that of recreational therapy. It includes, for example, 178 specific steps provided in a one-on-one setting for intervening with over 200 children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Championing the use of retired show horses and ponies is also a major goal at SpiritHorse. These horses are ideal for this type of work because they have had years of professional training and show experience. These schoolmasters are the safest mounts for children with disabilities and are patient with our students. We currently have wonderful therapy ponies and horses that are selected very carefully based upon their gentleness, level of training, and the love of their work.

For more information on our school to farm program, please contact Gretchen Levitz-Kimball at 860-695-1170. Email: levig002@hartfordschools.org