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Thursday, September 21, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Students get a leg up on special car pool

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Lee Davis uses horsepower for her kids' car pool.

Each afternoon, rain or shine, the Bellevue woman and her two Arabian horses, Kal and Al, walk to Cherry Crest Elementary School to pick up as many as four kids.

With the children riding bareback, Davis, often accompanied by a neighbor or two, holds the horses' ropes and leads the group to her home's cul-de-sac near Bridle Trails State Park.

Popular? You bet.

"Sometimes the school bus passes us and you can see all the kids' faces pressed up against the window," she said. "Everyone seems to love it."

Alyssa Buchthal, 8, walked dejectedly behind the horses and her friends Tuesday. She forgot her helmet — a safety requirement in Davis' horse pool. Her mother came to the rescue, bringing the helmet to the parade of kids, adults and horses in time for the third-grader to ride the last block to the pasture.

Davis began the unusual concept a year ago with Ambre, her black Arabian mare. The kids took turns riding. Earlier this year, when she began caring for Kal and Al, the seating capacity doubled. Ambre was unavailable for rides because she was pregnant.

The mare and her 3-month-old colt were waiting in pastures when the horse pool arrived Tuesday. They whinnied a welcome. "Horses have an internal clock," Davis said. "When I go to the pasture to get them at about 3 o'clock, they're at the gate waiting for me."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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