Taking the Reins and Finding your Herd

A Celebration of Red Ribbon Week

On October 26th, in celebration of Red Ribbon Week, students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind welcomed the “Taking the Reins and Finding your Herd” Program, presented by Amanda Kumiko Kent. The program offers opportunities for students to work through teamwork and communication, while also boosting students’ confidence to turn down harmful substances and live drug free lives.

“We had a great time and had some comments from kids that showed we were right on target when it came to confidence building and learning how to be a good team and find good friends”, said Amanda Kumiko Kent, “Students had to deal with the consequences of their choices in the moment, make new decisions to keep the horse in action, set boundaries with animal both space and starting and stopping motion.”

The program is carefully mapped out, with courses designed for students to lead the horses in a pattern, allowing them to make decisions on how and where to get through a pathway they chose. Students learned how to encourage the horses when they were uncomfortable, slow down when going too fast, and feel the power of making a choice. These somatic exercises helped students recognize the similar energy need to make positive choices when it comes to substance use or other peer pressure from friends.

Students painted symbols of their preference on the horses to represent their strengths, choices, goals, and other things that might remind them not to use drugs. Many students chose symbols that represented friendship – all students discovered new, healthy ways to be a friend and make a friend. “I used to feel like I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone not from the school.  And now I can talk to anyone after today.  I want to talk to other people”, said one student.

The event, sponsored by the Office of Drug Policy, was powerful in providing youth with real skills for preventing substance use and misuse.