Our Young Riders Afterschool Program is designed to teach kids the basics of horse care and riding in a safe and fun environment. Participants will learn how to groom, saddle, and ride horses, as well as how to safely handle them on the ground. In addition to developing their horsemanship skills, participants will also learn valuable life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, and communication.
A unique part of our program is integrated Animal Assisted Therapy. While youth are interacting with horses, they are provided mental health support along the way. Studies have shown horse interaction stimulates many positive psychological feelings, reducing depression by 30% as well as lowering the chance of dementia by 30% (British Horse Society.2022). Our program helps close the gap for communities who don’t have access to mental health support and/or resources.
The target audience for the program are Black/African American, Indigenous, and Hispanic youth in grades K-8th and live within the inner-city communities of Oakland, CA and Stockton, CA. The program aims to provide a safe, fun, and educational outlet to individuals within communities that lack cultural, and agricultural community programs.
Part of the goals of this program is to immerse individuals in the agricultural horsemanship space, providing skill enhancement opportunities, career related opportunities, and agricultural related extracurricular activities. Individuals who are exposed to communities with high rates of poverty often fall victim to mental health challenges, often due to being stuck in generational poverty cycles, not having been exposed to career, and other opportunities outside of their community.
The Young Riders Afterschool program provides a space for individuals to get outside of their day-to-day routines, connecting them to ranchers, farmers, horsemen, and other individuals who work (and play) within agricultural related trades.
Funded by San Francisco, CA (January 2024)