OGDEN -- Children swarmed Sundance the horse, rubbing his coat and petting his head Friday morning.
"Just watch his eyes," warned his trainer, Ron Gardiner.
Gardiner and Sundance visited the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, 742 Harrison Blvd.
A group of deaf students watched in awe as horse and trainer worked together through a series of signals and completed a routine such as dancing and bowing.
An interpreter stood to the side and signed Gardiner's explanations.
"We can have our children experience something they normally don't have a chance to see," said Kim Pierce, the school's public information officer.
"They spend so much of their time learning to overcome their visual and hearing loss that they don't always get to experience new things."
Volunteer coordinator Lisa Diarte said Gardiner approached the school a couple of weeks ago.
Gardiner, a retired officer with the Ogden Police Department, has worked with Sundance, his partner in the police force, for about 12 years.
Through their time together patrolling and making arrests, they have formed a deep bond that has allowed Gardiner to take Sundance to various community events.
For years, he and Sundance have been a fixture at the Historic 25th Street Farmers Market.
Through training and building trust, Sundance has learned to handle the stress of crowds and loud noises, which makes him an ideal teaching tool for children.
"Sundance is perfectly at ease," Gardiner said.
The children's gentle petting actually helps reduce the horse's heart rate, he said.
Sundance twirled and danced, and the children took turns brushing his teeth with a large, yellow animal toothbrush.
While the deaf students got to admire the horse and see him perform, the school's blind children got to pet Sundance in order to visualize the animal in their minds.
"For the deaf kids, it's a visual experience," Diarte said.
"For the blind kids, it's a sensory experience."
This is not the first time Sundance and Gardiner have worked with special-needs children. For several years, a day has been set aside for the duo to work with special-needs children at Ogden Stadium before the Pioneer Days Rodeo.