Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club has been teaching kids about horses for 20 years

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club is an equestrian escape for kids
Horses walking the streets of Philadelphia may be a surprising sight to some. But on one street in Strawberry Mansion, it's the norm

PHILADELPHIA -- As a child, Ellis Ferrell was champing at the bit to own his own horse.

He says he loved horses from an early age.

Now, he's living the dream, with 14 horses at the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in Philadelphia.

He found the club in 2004 with a mission in mind: "Give the kids something to do; teach them how to ride," he says.

He says most of the kids that come to the club's stables live in the neighborhood.

Ferrell's son, Darrin, helps out.

He says he started riding horses in Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia after going with his dad to the stables.

They teach kids how to ride and care for the horses -- feeding, cleaning stalls and grooming-- usually after school and on weekends.

For many kids, it's their first time on a horse and the club doesn't charge for lessons.

The Ferrells say the kids that come to the club get attached to the horses and most have a favorite.

Ferrell says the club keeps the kids off the street and teaches them life skills through mentoring. He says the club culture has transformed the neighborhood.

"If they learn to respect these horses, they'll learn to respect themselves," says Ferrell.

"They call it the safe haven, says Darrin. "Once they open that gate, it's a different world," says Darrin.

For more information on the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, visit: FSURC.com.

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