Fourth-graders from Pasadena's Roosevelt Elementary School took a break from reading, writing and arithmetic Wednesday and contemplated the inherent art and beauty of the equine in a special field trip hosted by the Rose Bowl Riders.
"Art of the Horse" is an educational program that allows students to get up close and personal with horses kept by the local nonprofit on the sweeping grounds of the Pasadena Equestrian Center at Hahamongna Watershed Park.
In addition to a barn tour, kids watch a riding demonstration, learn about horse breeds and coloration and engage in an art lesson with a live model.
"Some of the kids have never been around an animal this big," said Bonnie Hedrick, who organizes the trips through the Rose Bowl Riders Charitable Organization. "The first thing they do when they get off the bus is pet a horse."
On loan Wednesday was Skipper, a 23-year-old quarter horse whose calm temperament makes him a perfect teaching horse, according to Highland Park artist and lesson leader Patty Sue Jones. Jones led kids on a tour of the property and conducted an art lesson where kids used Skipper and plastic horse models to create Chinese drawing scrolls.
Student Eloy Muro sometimes rides his cousin's horse and loves it, so he was looking forward to the field trip. During the lesson, the 9-year-old used an orange marker to make dappled flecks on his horse. He showed off his finished creation to Skipper, who dutifully nodded his approval.
"I just drew what was in my mind," he said of his scroll. "I just created it."
Giselle Avila, 10, was thrilled to be around Skipper and his cohorts.
"When I pass horses I want to sometimes get out of the car and take a picture of them," she said. "I love horses."