Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wanted: Students to ride horses while reading the Great Books

The list of “great books” of Western literature that students read at Wyoming Catholic College includes Homer’s Iliad, in which the hero Achilles has a conversation with his horses before heading off to battle. Achilles complains that it’s their fault his friend Patroklos has been killed in battle, and one horse replies that Patroklos’ death is actually the fault of Apollo and destiny, and that Achilles, too, will one day die in battle. Achilles then shouts out his war cry and heads off to war. Lorine Sheehan, a 2014 graduate from Wyoming Catholic who now heads its Equestrian Program, says that when students have direct physical contact with a horse it gives them a new perspective of the bond that can develop between a human and a horse, which ties back into the curriculum, “illustrat[ing] how important horses were to Achilles.” Wyoming Catholic College is unique among Catholic institutions in that it requires students to take a semester class in horsemanship, regardless of their level of experience in riding. Students are provided the opportunity, Sheehan says, to be paired with a particular horse that matches their personality so that they may “learn to communicate with, teach and be taught by them.” “Being given dominion over an irrational animal gives you a unique way to experience creation,” says Sheehan. For three hours once a week, students travel to a nearby ranch and learn horse characteristics, basic horse care and practice riding under the watchful eye of an instructor...MORE

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