By Jackie Paige via CBS Local
Detroit, MI (CBS Detroit) – Detroit Horse Power is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2015 by former Detroit elementary school teacher, David Silver. They teach urban youth to ride and care for horses as a way to develop critical skills that will set them up for future success. Detroit Horse Power’s vision is to give at-risk youth a safe and enriching space that furthers their future development.
The purpose of Detroit Horse Power is to teach urban children to ride and care for horses. This helps develop critical skills that will set them on a path to success. Horses teach children perseverance, empathy, responsible risk-taking, confidence, and self-control.
“I grew up horseback riding in suburban New York, and I moved to Detroit in 2012 to teach elementary school,” explains David Silver, Executive Director of Detroit Horse Power. “I saw a real need in my students’ lives to develop the kinds of social and emotional skills like confidence, empathy or perseverance, that I was fortunate to develop when I was riding and taking care of horses. So I decided to leave the classroom in 2014 to start Detroit Horse Power to create those positive, youth development opportunities available to kids like my students.”
“For most of our students, this is their first experience riding or taking care of horses.”
“With a horse, you gotta take the horses’ feelings into consideration, so you don’t scare him,” said 7th grader Bryianna Morris. “Because the horse, when you’re riding it or walking it, feeds off your energy.”
“At the beginning, some of them may be a little fearful. Many of them are excited, and throughout the week they gain more confidence,” explains Brianna Brown of Detroit Horse Power. “And they want to continue doing this; they want to come back. They feel freedom; they feel enjoyment; they want to be here.”
“I said to myself ‘what am I gonna do with these horses’, and I decided that I was going to start having camps and help other kids,” says Carolyne Wheeler, Co-owner of Cedar Ridge Equestrian Center. “It gives kids a chance to do things that they probably wouldn’t ever get to do.”
The most important lessons are what horses can teach kids about themselves: the confidence that comes from riding, taking responsibility for another living being, not giving up when things get hard, and more. These lifelong lessons that the kids learn through their horse experiences will help them succeed in school and in life.