Equine Youth Challenge
Youth who are more in touch with these inner qualities are youth moving toward a more successful adulthood. The Equine Youth Challenge Program seeks to help at-risk youth develop these character traits and habits in order to transition into adulthood as happier and more balanced people.
Specifically, EYC seeks to help youth build a relationship with horses. We believe that the natural bonding that occurs between a youth and a horse helps young people to better understand themselves and the outside world. They will learn to understand how their state of being or energy impacts the horse and how the horse reflects what is going on with the youth. Through the practice of Compassionate and Conscious Horsemanship, as taught by Kelly Crockett, youth learn horse gentling, general care, nutrition, hoof care, and, ultimately, how to ride.
The Equine Youth Challenge is a program utilizing the techniques of Compassionate and Conscious Horsemanship with a youth mentoring and processing component. Youth learn the history of America’s first horse—the Spanish Mustang. Youth also learn hoof care and basic conformation and terminology specific to horsemanship, and, of course, riding. In addition, youth have time to process and talk about how these experiences might translate into better choices in their lives.
At the conclusion of the 10-week program, there will be a graduation exposition. Youth will demonstrate how to catch, groom (including the cleaning of hooves) and work with a horse in the round pen. They will know how to saddle and bridle a pony and will be capable of riding a horse. They will be able to speak about the history of the Spanish Mustang, basic hoof care and the importance of worming and diet.
Youth completing the program successfully and having attended all sessions will be given the opportunity to repeat the program – in order to learn more. The Together We Can Foundation was an early sponsor of this program, developed by volunteer program director Kelly Crockett. Kelly is an experienced horsewoman, riding instructor, and youth program leader. Together We Can continues to support this program by providing youth scholarships to the Equine Youth Challenge. In addition, TWC ensures that all Equine Youth Challenge staff and volunteers have passed F.B.I. Criminal and Child Protective Services background checks.
Where: The program is held at Windhorse Ranch in Ahoskie, North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Suffolk, Virginia and an hour and 20 minutes from Virginia Beach—Windhorse Ranch is a beautiful and safe private facility, ideal for horse work.
When: Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Who: This program is open to young adults between the ages of 13 and 18 who are referred by social workers or agencies. Space is limited to 15 youth per session
Cost: There is no cost to the youth because of the Together We Can Foundation—Smart Transitions scholarship. Safety equipment will be provided. All materials will be provided. We provide bottled water. All youth must have transportation to and from the program location.
Dress: Long jeans, closed-toed, comfortable shoes with a heel. In the winter, dress in layers to stay warm.