Concrete Cowboys

Very touching story of how having horses in their lives is helping at-risk teens in Philadelphia. Look past the equitation issues in the video and focus on the freedom and the feelings of accomplishment that riding brings to these teens.

“Being around horses takes the trouble off my shoulders. Like when I’m having trouble around the house, this is where I come to think about things.”

— Abdurrahman Early, 16 (from the Wall Street Journal, The Concrete Cowboys of Philadelphia)

Concrete Cowboys
Shahir Drayton photographed by Charles Mosteller

I feel the same way. Whenever I’m stressed, going to the barn is a great way to decompress, and my life isn’t nearly as hard as these kids’. The barn must feel like an oasis to them.

The concrete cowboys of South Philly hail from the stables of Malik Divers, who believes that riding — and caring for horses — will help teens who have few options models and fewer role models.

“Caring for horses requires a huge amount of time and responsibility, and it seems like such a great way for these kids to learn both how to take care of something and work hard, as well as how much potential they have and that they can overcome obstacles.”

— Malik Divers, quoted in the Wall Street Journal

Certainly the feelings that riding a horse bring are universal, because I would have said the same thing:

“[Horseback riding] is the best feeling in the world, cause you’re in control of everything. Nothing else around you matters but you and your horse.”’

— Abdurrahman Early

You can help Malik Divers build a new stable by donating to his Go Fund Me campaign.

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