Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


Franklin and "Big Reggie" Learn and Grow
Through Equine Assisted Training Program

By Janet Anderson and Minnie Pack

When Franklin first came to BRT he wanted to mow on a riding mower and he wanted to drive one of the golf carts we have on campus.

“When I was a little kid, I used to push the pedals on my mom’s riding mower, but I was little and didn’t get to mow, and when I came here, I learned how to mow.” It turned out that he was good at it. He liked spending time with Mr. Thackerson and helping him with tasks on the BRT grounds or going with Mr. Thackerson to check on things on campus.

Eventually, the grass turned brown, the mowing season was over and Franklin needed to find another after-school program in which to participate. He landed in the Equine Assisted Training program with several much younger boys. Jennifer Kloeppel, “Mrs. K”, our Equine Assisted Training Specialist, thought he felt a little insulted to be lumped in with “little kids,” but they were all beginning riders. He was soon attracted to the colts and miniature horses. Although he was too big to ride them, which he wasn’t anxious to do, anyway, Franklin learned how to groom and care for them.

Franklin asserts that he did not want to work with the animals because he had never been around animals much at all and he was afraid of the ones at the ranch that are larger than he is, saying “I never spent any time around animals before I came here.”

Just by being around the animals, Franklin’s comfort with them grew. He learned to recognize behaviors in the younger animals as reactions and logical responses to their circumstances. “We have this one donkey, I call him ‘Big Reggie’ and when I got to spend time with him I realized that he was as scared as I was, because he hadn’t been around people very much.”

Franklin is learning that while he participates in the Equine Assisted Training program he is gaining maturity and this shows people he is trustworthy. He is also learning humility and how to be a servant by being with the younger kids.

Just as God grows us by allowing us to encounter obstacles, Franklin is learning to overcome things from his past as well as the difficulties that come with each new day.

Franklin is a great kid with a need to be needed. He wants to hurry through growing up, just like most kids his age, but as he works with “Big Reggie” to prepare him for his first performance in the 2015 BRT Christmas Pageant, he realizes that growing up and the learning that happens as we mature take time and patience. As he prepares “Big Reggie” for the next pageant, he also is preparing himself for what God has in store.

(Resident's name has been changed to protect his privacy.)

February, 2015

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