Horses that would have headed to retirement or a rescue group are finding a new occupation as lesson horses.
It's a program called Second Chances.
For about 25 years, Brandy McDonnell has trained horses. Now she's focused on riding lessons at Blue Point Stables in Roane County.
It's all about second chances.
"We have some that were show horses and are now lesson horses. We have some that we found at a rescue facility," McDonnell explained.
Their second career is educating children during week-long horse camps.
"They love the kids, they love the lifestyle, they are so happy. They maybe were never the best at what they did before but they're stars here," she said.
They are living stars the children decorate with finger paint and sparkles.
Cupcake is the assigned horse for Campbell.
"I decorated with finger paint some stickers and some sparkly ones and stuff like that," 6-year-old Campbell Ayers said.
Lexi is MacKenzie Donald's assigned horse.
"She's a really good horse and she's really pretty and she's really fun to ride," 11-year-old Donald said.
Lexi is a little stubborn and that's part of the reason why the 11 year old was paired with the mare.
"She thinks she's the boss and you sort of have to tell her that you the rider is and she doesn't know that yet so she didn't think little kids could handle that," MacKenzie explained.
A recital of sorts is the culmination of camp.
Parents snapped pictures as the campers show off their skills in a parade of horses.
Most of the younger campers in the group had not ridden a horse when camp began. Five days later...
"They can get on the horse, they can steer the horse, they can walk and usually trot or gait go a little bit faster into second gear and it's really pretty cool," McDonnell said.
Campbell said, "I learned a lot of things about horses and stalls and stuff like that."
They saddled up to show off their riding skills.
The campers and horses get along great.
"He's fun, he's cute, he's really pretty, I love his eyes," Campbell said.
Brandy McDonnell recalled, "I had one little girl this week who came to me and said Miss Brandy thank you so much for letting me ride Dee Dee and pet Dee Dee. She puts her head down and lets me bet her and I thought that is so sweet and Dee Dee loves it."
For many campers it is their first chance to ride a horse.
And for all the horses it is their second chance at life.