‘City to Saddle' brings kids from Bonton neighborhood to Equest barn

The City to Saddle Foundation was formed in Boston to give city kids experiences on horseback.

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Children from Dallas' Bonton neighborhood are saddling up for a unique lesson. They are the first to be enrolled in the 'City to Saddle' program, which is being taught at Equest this summer for the first time.

"So it gives us an opportunity to reach out to some of the children who might be in our neighborhoods that we might not have reached before," Equest Program Director Amy Causey said.

Equest is a therapeutic riding center located just a few minutes from the Bonton neighborhood, but the children who live there rarely have an opportunity to ride horses.

"It feels good to be riding a horse," Erick Williams said "Because it's really, like, fun!"

"i was hoping to bring and give joy and opportunity for things that I love for others who wouldn't have that opportunity," City to Saddle Co-Founder and Chair Barbara Zenker said.

The children don't just learn how to ride horses, they are learning communication skills and responsibility, too.

"So the great thing about the horses is that they are eternal equalizers. They don't judge," Causey said. "We have to kind of learn to talk and walk the way the horses are communicating."

"I think what they bring to people is an opportunity to learn how to calm and quiet and work together," Zenker said. "It's the relationship, not force, that allows you to grow with others and within yourself, and it gives you an enormous amount of confidence, I think."

The first group of children in City to Saddle are getting lessons this week. There is another group starting on July 17.

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