Growing up, I was a horse crazy girl. I read every horse book I could get my hands on, watched each episode of Fury and My Friend Flicka on TV and collected every horse picture, model and magazine that crossed my path. If I was lucky, a few times each summer I would have a chance to ride a real horse at a dude ranch or farm.
While still in elementary school, a friend and I organized our own horse school where we taught each other, taking turns being teacher and pupil. We wrote on a chalkboard, gave lectures and tests.
The fascination with horses remained strong through high school. After graduation I decided to pursue my passion and began working with horses at a small, private hunter and jumper stable outside of Montreal.
Humber College in Toronto started up a horsemanship program at this time and I attended the two-year program, graduating with an Honours Degree in Horsemanship in the mid-seventies.
Years later, when my daughter was in elementary school we lived on a horse farm. She too was a horse crazy girl. In school, she struggled with math.
One evening, while helping her with math homework, I could see that the question could easily be changed to reference the world of horses. Instead of ‘Sally receives an allowance of $35 each month. How much money does she receive in a year?’ I wrote, ‘Sally pays $250 each month to self-board her pony at a nearby farm. How much does it cost to board her pony for the entire year?’
This is a realistic amount to pay for self-boarding a horse in our area so while the mathematics of the question is the same, my daughter gained a sense of the actual cost to board a pony per month and for an entire year.
Using the math work sheets my daughter brought home from school as reference, I began creating math questions based in the real world of horses. Suddenly, I began seeing math everywhere in my work with horses, and Horse Lover’s Math was born.