Book-reading program at Cave Creek animal rescue helping kids - and horses, too

A book reading program at a Cave Creek animal rescue is helping rehabilitate - not just for the readers, but for the listeners, too.

The Books in the Barn Program at Healing Hearts Horse Rescue involves school-aged children reading to a unique audience: horses. And they're all ears.

"It's a wonderful experience for both child and horse," said Jennifer Braumbaugh, executive director of the nonprofit. "It allows the child to read without any judgment, they can work on their literacy skills, and the horses have the benefit of the children and in getting stimulation."

Braumbaugh says the goal is to make the horses more social.

"It's claiming, it's really good for them," the director said. "Our goal is to have them adopted out to a forever home, so any interacting with children with families on a daily basis helps them learn appropriate behaviors and to calm themselves."

More than 1,000 children have participated since the program began in 2013, and hundreds of horses have found healing and a new home.

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