Question: What do you get when you place 13 teenage girls, six horses and various art supplies in a round pen with no cell phone access?
- An amazing creative expression of nature, art, and trusting relationship building with one another and the horses.
- Young ladies that are excited and energized by their mastery.
- Horses that are loved and content.
- All of the above.
St Joseph’s Indian School high school girls were given an opportunity to work with their four legged ancestors, the šúŋkawakȟáŋ — horse, through a collaboration of St. Joseph’s Equine Therapy and Daughters of Tradition programs.
Family Service Counselors, Amanda and Darcy, collaborated with Equine Specialist, Patty, to challenge the girls to a contest in which they paired up and worked with an assigned horse to groom and decorate. They were given 45 minutes, paint, ribbons, feathers, hair ties and other art supplies to create a theme of their choosing.
The six horses used as their canvases were Sox, Cochee, Pony Boy, Blue, Violet and Grandma. Their coats — once black, brown and white — morphed into colorful works of art, displaying the sky, water, stars, feathers, flowers, tipis and more.
Once the time was up, a panel of judges toured the round pen to ask the girls about their horse, the theme, why they chose that theme and what it meant to them. Public speaking and creative expression were part of the judging criteria.
The girls viewed one another’s horses and creations to gain full value from the activity. Once pictures were over and prizes announced, the girls offered their thanks and gratitude to the horses by feeding them apples, grass and hay.
Philámayaye — thank you — for supporting programs at St. Joseph’s Indian School.