When walking down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in West Baltimore, the last thing you would expect to see is a corral full of horses. But for 10 weeks in May and June, that’s exactly what neighbors saw as they passed by the University of Maryland BioPark.
Through a partnership with City Ranch, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Community Engagement Center was able to bring a free horseback riding program to West Baltimore youths ages 10 to 15.
The program was designed to teach youth basic horse skills through safe and fun hands-on activities. This unique program gives 24 Baltimore youths an opportunity to participate in a number of activities, including horseback riding, horse care and grooming, general horse equipment maintenance, and lessons in leadership, listening, critical thinking, and self-control.
This program came about when faculty and staff were brainstorming ideas for new programming that could be safely implemented in person for youth in the surrounding community. The program also provides a unique point of access for children interested in learning about horseback riding. The horses are brought to the city, so rather than driving miles away to visit a farm, the participants only need to travel a few blocks to be part of the experience.