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, 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 in the spring.
The program was designed to teach youth basic horse skills through safe and fun hands-on activities. This unique program gave 24 Baltimore youths an opportunity to participate in a number of activities, including horseback riding, horse care and grooming, general horse equipment maintenance, and learn lessons in leadership, listening, critical thinking, and self-control.
The horseback riding 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. It also provided a unique point of access for children interested in learning about horseback riding. The horses were brought into the city, reducing travel for students over the 10 weeks.