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Megan Schenach, her son Colton (2) and daughter Selena (4) enjoy Miniature horse Joey's company at the Pleasant Hill Library on Tuesday.

Pleasant Hill Library brings horsepower to reading

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life Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

Children at the Pleasant Hill Library on Tuesday had the opportunity to not only read about horses, but meet one in person. Allison and Chris Polster brought their Miniature horse Joey to the library. Allison and Chris taught the children about what it's like to be a horse, and read stories about horses. Joey and the children listened intently as Chris gave some of the older children an opportunity to read a few pages of the story. Letting older children read not only makes the experience more fun, but more relatable. Chris says that seeing the older kids enjoying a book makes the younger kids want to read too. Chris and his daughter Allison work with Joey through their organization called the Half Pint Horse Foundation which provides therapy and education using trained miniature horses.

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The idea for the program came from Allison's daughter Teagan, who now helps with the horses at events. After attending a birthday party, Teagan announced to her mother that she wanted chickens like she had seen at the party. Allison considered it, and after some research, they decided on horses instead. Allison came across the idea of therapy animals and really liked the it, so she worked to bring the program to life. Allison now owns three miniature horses as a part of the Half Pint Horse Foundation. The horses are trained therapy animals. Joey's training includes sitting to allow children to read to them one on one. He's even potty trained, so he can visit patients indoors. The horses pay visits to people in elder care facilities, daycares, and hospitals, as well as promoting literacy through events such as the one held at the library Tuesday morning. Chris says he considers himself lucky to have such a great job, "It's so rewarding to give back to the community. Especially because I love horses."

More information about the Half Pint Horse Foundation can be found at http://halfpinthorses.com

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