That was the way Lenaya Raack, the story reader at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum's Kids Day, described her role on Saturday morning.
The volunteer loves reading, books, and, in her unique way, she's able to make members of the audience feel as if they're part of the story. Raack read Barbara Libby's “I Rode the Red Horse,” a story about Secretariat's Belmont Stakes.
“I don't know if kids get to read as much as they used to anymore, and to involve them in the stories, and to put a part of myself into it, makes it more exciting,” said Raack. “Hopefully it will make them want to read more.”
Kids colored Thoroughbred racing-themed coloring pages, had their faces painted and tried on real jockey silks.
Tegan Price isn't a stranger to horses. His mother Tara Heuberger participates in equestrian sport and activities, and the mother and son are frequent visitors to Hopelands Gardens.
“We don't usually make it when the museum is open,” said Heuberger. “I saw that there was going to be a kids day, and we love to visit the museum.”
Price was one of the children who had a chance to try on the jockey silks, and he also listened intently to the story read by Raack.
“I'm a horse person, so he's around it a lot,” said Heuberger. “We'll go by the Aiken Training Track, and he gets the opportunity to watch the riders and horses.”
Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry.