WARSAW — The Magical Meadows is more than just horseback riding, it’s a therapeutic technique to help students.

Once on site, students learn to quickly overcome their initial fears or anxieties about a horse, and within minutes and are soon riding. Learning to balance, taking initiative, caring for an animal and self-discipline all combine to form the outlines of the curriculum at the Magical Meadows​.

“It’s just been one step after another, from liking to wear a cowboy hat (all the sudden) to actually being called ‘Cowboy Carl’ by all the kids who are out here,” says Cowboy Carl,”whose real name is Carl Adams. Adams is the current executive director of Magical Meadows.

Students from Whitko Community Schools visit The Magical Meadows as a part of the schools’ functional skills program. All four locations take students to ride horseback and the results are easily seen. Adams shared that he had witnessed first hand students with disabilities who had never walked, get off their horse and take right off walking.

He had also seen success with students who have cerebral palsy, who were unable to sit up unassisted. Adams shared that after one to two years of riding, they were indeed able to ride sitting straight up on the horse.

Adams personally rides with students who need assistance, but he also teaches the students to take the lead regularly. Experienced Whitko High School senior Justin Hartman​, often took the horse by the bit and assisted his fellow classmates by leading them around the paddock on their ride. Students rode between various obstacles like barrels and flags, and then enjoyed the open spaces riding freely outside of the stables.

After watching many westerns starring some of the greats like “The Duke” (John Wayne), or westerns depicting the stories of outlaws like Jessie James, Hartman and his friend Jordan Minnick​ felt that they were better equipped to be cowboys.

When asked what he thought of Cowboy Carl, Hartman quickly replied, “He’s a really cool guy, you know! He’s not too bad! Magical Meadows is really helpful for kids… that’s what I believe in.”

To learn more about the Magical Meadows visit, themagicalmeadows.org.