These local students were learning about horses. Then a surprise came.

The newest “member” of Butler Tech’s Equine class showed up early to his first day at school.

Very early.

As in 2 a.m., but nobody complained.

In fact, school staffers at Butler Tech’s Natural Science Center in Monroe were overjoyed to have the new colt – dubbed “Banjo” – early but still healthy.

“She sort of snuck him in on us,” said Equine Instructor Tim Spoerl of Banjo’s mother, “Angel.”

“We were expecting her to give birth on the following weekend,” said Spoerl of the foal’s surprise birth last week.

In just a few days, Banjo has become a fast favorite of the students studying equine veterinarian lessons at the stables of the school, located on 72 acres of a former fruit farm just off of Ohio Route 63, in the western portion of Monroe.

It’s fun, but the learning experience of tending to a pregnant mare and her recent delivery of Banjo are invaluable when it happens at the program’s horse stables, officials said.

Angel “is a very good momma and the baby got up in about 15 minutes,” said Spoerl, a 13-year veteran of the Animal Science program offered to high school juniors and seniors in Butler County.

“So far everything is going well with the baby,” Spoerl said.

“It’s a good, hands-on experience for them (students). You can watch videos and read it and do whatever you want but until you go out and handle that foal and interact with the mare and foal together – to understand that dynamic – it doesn’t always sink in all the way.”

The Animal Science program, which is adjacent to the Monroe 2-12 school campus, offers a farm and ranch environment where teens have opportunities to work in a real-world setting with horses or 30 different animals in Veterinary Science classes.

The school also offers training in industrial equipment and natural resources through landscape design and construction courses. All programs, which use classrooms built into the farm’s large, original barn, have students spending a majority of their instructional time in an outdoor setting.

Butler Tech senior Shelby Anderson recently paused from grooming Banjo and said she is grateful for the experience.

“He is very hyper and very jumpy. He loves attention and he is very curious about everything,” Anderson said. “Angel is a very loving mom. She makes sure everyone stays as far from the foal as they can, she is very protective.

“It’s a lot of fun.”

VIDEO: See the recently born colt “Banjo” and his proud mother - Butler Tech’s newest member of its Animal Science Equine program

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