Officials seek program that teams juvenile offenders with horses

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Juvenile justice officials are meeting to find a way to bring a program to Louisiana aimed at giving second chances to troubled youth and retired race horses.

They're teaming up with the Thoroughbred Rescue Foundation on a program that would give youth offenders at the Jetson Correctional Center a focus for their future.

Participants would be hands-on with the horses, even receiving national certifications in the horse industry.

"It is great potential to develop the empathy and that relationship, helping to take care of something and care about something other than themselves," said Dr. Mary Livers with the Office of Juvenile Justice. "I think that is therapeutic in and of itself, along with all the skills they'll learn and be able to be employed."

Inmates working with horses is not a new concept, but this program would be the first at a youth facility.

There's no time line yet on when it'll be up and running in Louisiana. Right now, the focus is on private fundraisers to help build the new facility.

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