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WCJB Gainesville FL

OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Fourth graders in Marion County are about to get a lesson about the equine industry as they gallop into the fictional world of a boy and his wild black stallion.

Through the Black Stallion Reading Project, elementary students in the north central Florida county are getting what could be their first or only encounter with a horse.

In partnership with the Ocala Horse Alliance, these students will receive a copy of ‘The Black Stallion’ by Walter Farley, and their own ‘tack trunk.’

“It a great way to engage students in reading and give them exposure to horses and maybe even get them thinking about a career in the horse industry. And not just a book. They’re also going to get a tack trunk that has horse related items in it including sealed bags of hay and sugar cubes,” MCPS School Boar Chair, Nancy Thrower said.

Over the next five years, the Black Stallion Reading Project will allow students to get up close and personal with horses.

Yvonne Moritz with the non-profit, Horses That Help, will sponsor a school to provide these materials.

“We definitely need to get more kids involved with horses, and we just moved up from Palm Beach County and were stoked coming up to Ocala in learning that there’s a lot of kids that have never touched a horse. As a mom of three daughters, I know the importance of reading and getting kids to read and there’s just something really amazing about horses,” Moritz said.

And school board members are hoping this could change lives, just like it has for them.

“Horses have always been a huge part of my life, in fact if it weren’t for horses, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college,” Thrower added. So from the page and out into the horse capital, these children are sure to learn just how important the equine industry can be... particularly to the “horse capital of the world.”

This article originally appeared on WCJB Gainesville FL is published here with permission.

You can find more interesting articles in our section on Recreation & Lifestyle.

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