Taking the reigns: At-risk kids saddle up - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Taking the reigns: At-risk kids saddle up

A lot of kids, at some point in their lives, may find themselves on a horse. That's not the case, for some kids right here in Memphis. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) A lot of kids, at some point in their lives, may find themselves on a horse. That's not the case, for some kids right here in Memphis. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - A lot of kids, at some point in their lives, may find themselves on a horse. That's not the case, for some kids right here in Memphis.

But now, a special partnership is allowing those children to saddle up and take the reigns far away from the city lights, and the everyday stress that comes from living in the inner city.

These kids are learning about the country life, and the unconditional love of a horse.

"We just heard about this camp," said Marcus Heath of MAM. "And we figured it'd be a good opportunity for a few kids to go out to the country, have a slightly different experience than playing basketball or soccer."

It's not your everyday camp, horse camp.

Old West Special Trails, teaming up with Memphis Athletic Ministries, is introducing at-risk kids to a world they may not have ever known.

Debbie Cooley, the co-owner of Old West Special Trails, said, "Some of these kids live in houses with lots of people. And what's so neat is they've been able to have their own horse. It's their horse. No one can take it away from them. They have it every day this week. They can call it theirs."

Camaya Clark is proud of her horse.

"This is my horse Pepe. And she's a nice horse. She likes to be trotted and she likes to walk," Clark said.

Campers learn basic horsemanship, how to ride and care for their horses.

But most importantly, they're able to step out of the city, and into a judgement-free arena.

"It's so drastically important for them to push the pause button on life," Heath said. "Focus on God and to focus on other things outside the stress of the home life."

Cooley added, "These horses are so cool because they love unconditionally. And so no matter what their background, what they've done or haven't done, we talked about that. These horses love them anyway."

"The best thing about coming out here is you get to learn about stuff," Jamikia Wall said. "And you learn how to ride a horse like trotting and going left and right, and how to stay on your horse. And when you come out here you get to ride around the arena and go on trails."

Trails that lead to more than a few smiles along the way.

Old West Special Trails in Eads, Tennessee is a fully nonprofit equestrian facility that not only works with at-risk children but special needs children.

If you would like to learn more, go to oldwestspecialtrails.org

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly