Local equestrians serve as mentors to youth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local equestrians serve as mentors to youth

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April 15, 2006

Albany--It was fun and games at the Potter's Community Center in Albany. Today, a group of equestrians called the Buffalo Riders presented their first annual Albany Trail Ride.

While the event gave children an opportunity to ride horses and even throw water balloons, these horse riders say the event gives children an opportunity to occupy their time and stay out of trouble.

They're not your average cowboy, but rather very skilled horse riders on a mission. "What we're basically trying to do is give them something to do, so they won't get involved in the wrong group," says Norman James. He is part of the Albany Buffalo Riders, an organization who's focus is on our nation's youth.

"You look at what the kids are doing today, they've got the drugs," says James.

"I won first place, first place," says Nautica Hadley. From horse riding to even a three-legged race, the 10-year-old is having more than just fun.

"You get to know different people and with your family you get to have fun and stuff," says Hadley.

"They love coming out, they love being outside riding the horses, the four wheelers and the games just everything," says Deidra Tillman. Her two children are also taking part in today's Albany Trail Ride event.

"Keeps them busy, and lets them know that there's other things out there other than getting in trouble," she says.

And that's what equestrians, like Buffalo Rider president and Albany city commissioner, John Hayes says this event is all about.

"We just want to help them avoid those pitfalls," says Hayes.

These equestrians hope to serve as positive role models for today's youth.

"We want to show them the right models, we want to show them some good examples," she says.

In hopes, that each become strong leaders in the community.

Proceeds from today's Trail Ride event will go toward the Albany Buffalo Riders' Youth Roundup mentor program which will be held in August at the center.

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