Inner-city youth ride horses on a farm (video)
They arrived as city slickers. They left as cowboys and cowgirls.
Last week, 40 youth from the Payne Ave. Salvation Army in St. Paul exited the concrete jungle for a day of horseback riding at The Yellow Farm – a peaceful and sprawling equine facility located in New Germany, Minn.
The kids had the time of their lives. (See photos.)
“I never rided a horse before,” said a 7-year-old boy named Calvin, while riding a brown therapy horse as it trotted along. “I love riding horses.”
The children in grades K–6 also learned to care for horses by brushing the animals and shoveling manure out of their stalls.
“Cleaning barns is something new,” said an 11-year-old girl named Adrianna. “I think it’s fun.”
“What the kids enjoy even more than the riding is the caring for the horses,” McGuire said. “They like mucking those stalls, brushing the animals, and being out here in the country.”
Many of the kids rarely leave the city. That includes a 12-year-old boy named JaRon, who was asked about his favorite part of the day. His simple response: “The space.”
“A lot of these kids have never really seen an area where you’ve got a house and a lot of acreage to play on,” said Wanda Fleur, youth director at the Payne Ave. Salvation Army (read about Wanda). “They’ve got next-door neighbors they can almost reach out and touch out their windows.”
The summer youth program at the Payne Ave. Salvation Army offers affordable all-day programming for working families that cannot afford daycare. A similar program exists during the school year to fill the void between when kids finish school and when their parents finish work. Both programs feature food, tutoring, sports, Bible lessons, and field trips.
These vital youth programs, offered at Salvation Army locations across Minnesota and North Dakota, are made possible by your donations to The Salvation Army.
Fleur and the kids appreciated The Yellow Farm inviting them to spend a day riding horses in the great outdoors.
“Being out here is an amazing opportunity for the kids,” Fleur said. “They wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Watch a video of children from the Payne Ave. Salvation Army in St. Paul enjoying a day of horseback riding at The Yellow Farm: