The Ride to the Olympics Foundation (RTO) recently hosted its “A Day At The Barn” event, in partnership with the Atlanta Saddle Club Association (ASCA) at the Southside Riders Ranch in Locust Grove, Georgia.
The event was an interactive experience for metro Atlanta kids to get acquainted with horses and the people who maintain them.
“We brought these kids to Southside Riders Ranch to allow them to experience something new that’s not only enjoyable but educational,” said Deetra Poindexter, RTO Community Engagement Director.
“They’re not only learning about horses, but they’re seeing the people who make money raising them, taking care of them, and riding them. More importantly, these people look like them. Anyone of these kids can decide that they want to ride horses for a living, become a veterinarian, or own a horse farm based on this experience.”
Approximately, 50 kids attended with their parents. Each kids was able to ride a horse, learn how to clean and maintain horses and speak with members of the ASCA, a premiere horsemanship club, that promotes a knowledge of horsemanship, to disseminate any general information relating to handling and training horses, and to encourage and develop sportsmanship among members and the local community.
The club is also made of mostly Black members, showing that there are many people of color involved in equestrian sports.
“A lot of the early experience in my life that shaped my future had something to do with horses,” said Miguel Wilson, founder of the Ride to the Olympics Foundation. “I was the kid that was able to get riding lessons because my grandmother saved every penny for me to get the experience.”
“I also worked in the stables just to continue being able to be near horses and the people who were able to afford the equestrian lifestyle. Riding horses is an expensive activity, which is why most underprivileged youth will never get the opportunity to experience horses. Additionally, the people you meet at equestrian events and activities are usually of a certain socioeconomic status.
Since its creation, RTO has supported kids of all ages who decided to get involved in equestrian sports. It was also partly responsible for the creation of the Morehouse Polo Club and an all-girls collegiate polo team.
“We work to get kids into equestrian sports to not just expose them to horses, but to give them an opportunity to network with a different circle of people, which could lead to bigger opportunities. It’s the same as getting your kid to play tennis, golf, or chess, only a horse costs way more than any of those activities,” Wilson said.
RTO will hold additional events for its you that include “A Day with the Atlanta Saddle Club Association” (Sept. 4), “Schooling Show-Eventing and Dressage” (Oct. 30), “A Tour of Bentley Atlanta” (Nov. 20).
For more information on the Ride to the Olympics Foundation and its programs, visit https://ridetotheolympics.org/. Also to learn more about the Atlanta Saddle Club Association, visit https://www.atlantasaddleclub.com/.
Last updated on September 7, 2021