Centennial Academy first graders, along with their fifth grade buddies, got to read to four of the horses from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office mounted patrol unit on Tuesday, April 19.
It was a warm afternoon full of sunshine, smiling faces and even a random chorus of “happy birthday” (Chester the horse just had a birthday last Friday). Students took turns reading sections of “The Happy Police Horse” featuring Benelli (who was in attendance and looking quite pleased with himself for being the star).
Zippo’s rider and LPS employee, Jeanne Hildreth, said Zippo “turns into a big marshmallow around the students.” He loves all the attention he gets from them, and Jeanne said the kids love reading to the horses. “There’s absolutely no judgment from a horse,” which helps students to not be nervous when they read aloud.
To help them prepare, students receive photocopies of the book about a week in advance. They are able to take these home and practice. Then, on the day when they get to read to the horses, each student gets to take home a copy of “The Happy Police Horse”--and each copy is autographed with Benelli’s footprint inside the front cover.