Reading camp students learn about therapeutic horses in Summers - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Reading camp students learn about therapeutic horses in Summers Co.


HINTON, W. Va (WVVA)--- A local summer camp brings back the joy of reading for area kids.

The Wild and Wonderful West Virginia reading camp based in Hinton, which is going on all week, focuses on building reading, writing, and comprehension skills in under-performing students.

While they read and skill-build during the day, it's the afternoon field trips that provide extra inspiration to these kids says Patty Grady, its co-coordinator.

Wednesday, their group learned about to the Beyond Wishes Therapeutic Riding Program on a Summers County horse farm, which uses the animals to assist the disabled. Its program director Toni McQuaig, says it's working with and riding the horses that builds values like patience, while improving motor skills that their clients can take with them at the end of the day.

Tuesday, reading campers learned about cleaning hooves, brushing the horses, and equine safety. One camper told WVVA his experience has inspired him to be a writer when he grows up.

"We are doing a lot of brain-building activities," said Grady. "Cross-brain activities in the morning to help them with reading. And the fun part, it helps them stay engaged."

The reading camp is sponsored by the Episcopal DDioceseof West Virginia and it goes until Friday. The camp, along with the therapeutic riding program, are entirely volunteer-run.

McQuaig said Beyond Wishes' farm is family-owned, and they find clients mainly through referrals and word-of-mouth. They try to take every client they can-- even those who have trouble paying. For that reason, many of their clients use donated or fund-raised funding to attend sessions. Donors like the Skewes Family Foundation also help keep them going, she said.

(For more information about the reading camp, you can email To inquire about Beyond Wishes, you can call 304-466-0431 or email

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