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Schools were closed for Presidents Day but 20 high school students from Springfield Gardens, Queens, eagerly came to Manhattan to meet the Central Park carriage horses and learn about the gentle giants.

The teenagers, from the George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences, visited Central Park and the Clinton Park Stable on the West Side where veteran equestrians talked about the evolution and domestication of horses, their physical and mental attributes, their daily diet, the medical care they receive, New York City’s animal welfare requirements, and other topics.

The students also took free horse-carriage rides in the 843-acre park.

“It was a good experience,” Ima, 19, said. “Even though I live in New York, I’ve never done this before. It’s like something you see in the movies and never think of doing yourself. I didn’t know we had all of this here. I honestly didn’t know we had horse carriages and all that. It was fun.”

The students are enrolled in the high school’s Veterinary Science Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. Upon graduation, students who meet program requirements can work as veterinary assistants and/or attend post-secondary institutions to become veterinary technicians and veterinarians.

“I learned a lot about horses that I wouldn’t probably know,” Elijiah, 18, said. “I like to observe things, so this was a really good treat. I think the best part was when we got to go on the horse ride in Central Park. That was amazing. It was breathtaking. It showed me another side of New York I never would have seen.” 

The students were accompanied Veterinary Science Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher Tiffany Santiago. Santiago also is the Work-Based Learning (WBL) coordinator at the high school.

“I believe this was an amazing experience for all the students, some who had never been to Central Park before,” Santiago said. “They enjoyed meeting the horses and better understanding their role in NYC’s history. Visiting the stable and learning more about horse husbandry was the highlight for us.”

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