Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


May 23, 2013

Kids and horses find purpose at Triple R

Greensburg — With a little over a week remaining in the 2012-2013 school year, Wednesday was a day for “horsing around” for Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) students participating in the school’s “Unbridled Potential” program at Triple R Equine Rescue.

Program Coordinator Heather Sanders told the Daily News Unbridled Potential was started three years ago and aims to help “at-risk” students, grades six through eight.

“By at-risk,” she explained, “we’re talking about kids who might be struggling with grades or with turning in assignments on time. These kids might also be struggling socially or behaviorally.”

The GJHS special education teacher added that, in creating the program, she and other program organizers were simply trying to find and think of “different ways to motivate kids.”

Sanders herself owns two rescued horses at her home and is friends with Debbie Richards, owner of Triple R.

“We started accepting rescued horses in earnest in 2008,” Richards said. “We’d been rescuing horses before that, but at nothing like our current numbers.”

Once Triple R started taking animals, in fact, the stable grew quickly in size.

“It got to a point,” Richards said, “that we had all these horses, and we realized we didn’t really have anything for them to do.”

Added Sanders, “She [Richards] had horses that needed a job, and we had kids who need motivation. It was a perfect match.”

Sanders applied for and received a grant for the program and it was off and “trotting” in 2011.

“We purchased curriculum books from Strides to Success in Indianapolis,” Sanders said. “Those have been immensely helpful in developing the program to teach cooperation, leadership, responsibility, teamwork and patience.”

Added Decatur County Director of Tourism Melanie Maxwell, who was on hand for Wednesday’s final Unbridled sessions of the year, “It’s amazing, the effect these horses have on the kids. You can see it.”

Through the program, Sanders explained, kids learn to care for and work around horses, including brushing, picking out hooves and saddling.

“They get time every other week (boys go one week and girls the next throughout the year),” she said, “based on a set of goals they create at the beginning of the school year. As long as they work towards those goals and we see improvements, they get to come. We do all we can to help them so they don’t miss any time. Time with the horses becomes a really big deal for these kids.”

Sanders expanded the program in the fall, allowing the kids to volunteer to work with the horses at Triple R one time each week after school until about 5 p.m.

“We arrange all that with the bus driver,” she said. “They’ll be able to volunteer this summer too.”

With Wednesday marking the final day for the program of the year, the boys and girls worked with the horses on the same day, boys in the morning and girls in the afternoon.

Sanders handed out certificates of completion, too. Those certificates provide a sense of accomplishment, another aspect that can provide a big boost for at-risk students.

Eighth grader Jewel Clark, who finally conquered her fear Wednesday by mounting and (briefly) riding one of the animals Wednesday, perhaps summed up the program’s utility best, saying “I’ve learned to be more confident. And I’ve learned that I was capable of doing more than I thought I could.”

For more photos from the final day of Unbridled Potential, 2012-2013, visit

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011


Text Only
  • Decatur County Events Calendar Local clubs, service groups, fraternal organizations and others are encouraged to send their Coming Events information to the Daily News at or Daily News, PO Box 106, Greensburg, IN 47240. April 22 1 to 3 p.m. - Euchre at

    April 19, 2014

  • Hoosiers need to move over for workers GREENSBURG - Hoosiers need to slow down and move over to allow a cushion of space for vehicles stopped on the road's shoulder, particularly on the interstates. National Work Zone Awareness Week was last week and the 17th anniversary of Indiana State

    April 19, 2014

  • Lunch Menus April 21 – April 25 Good Shepherd Christian Academy Monday - Pizza, grape tomatoes, strawberries and cake, milk Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad, ice cream, milk Wednesday - Chicken nuggets, tater tots, green beans, casserole, applesauce, milk Thu

    April 19, 2014

  • Graduation rates high GREENSBURG -- Greensburg and South Decatur High schools had among the best graduation rates in the state last year. North Decatur High School ranked near the middle, but still above the state average. Greensburg reported a graduation rate of 99.3 per

    April 19, 2014

  • nws-gb041914-pig virus photo Pig virus taking toll GREENSBURG -- When Decatur County farmer Jeff Smiley ducked into the nursery barn, about two dozen piglets rushed into a corner of their pen, their pinkish hides bouncing into one another like a porcine version of bumper cars. The piglet's round nose

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb041914-santee fire station - pic1 (please place on pg1) Clarksburg Vol. Fire Department breaks ground on Station 2 CLARKSBURG -- In 2012, members of the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) Board of Directors proposed building a new Firehouse to service the Lake Santee Community. CVFD Board President Wayne Geiss recalls that construction of a separate Fire

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • A pedicure that cured all my pet peeves Since I was a young person, I always had some pets around. Most of these have been dogs, hunting dogs in particular. And I loved my pets. In getting older, I discovered that having a pet dog around is a lot of work. More work than I care to do in lig

    April 19, 2014

  • Church Briefs Liberty Baptist Church Sunday, April 20 - Resurrection Sunday Liberty Baptist Church will have Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. in the Sanctuary, with the women doing the program. Following the Sunrise service the men of the congregation will serve Easter B

    April 19, 2014

  • Cards RHP Kelly on DL WASHINGTON -- St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly has been put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The Cardinals also optioned righty reliever Keith Butler to Triple-A Memphis and recalled rookie right-handers Eric Forn

    April 18, 2014

  • nws-gb041814-ymca flat rock - pic2 Local retreat mostly unknown around Decatur County ST. PAUL -- Out in the northwest corner of Decatur County lies a place that's largely unknown within the county itself. Oddly enough, this hideaway of natural splendor is anything but secret to the rest of the world. From Spain and Hong Kong they com

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos