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‘We Ride Too’ program exposes under-served young people to calming impact of horses


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    OAKLAND, California (KPIX) — Recent school stabbings and violence near Bay Area schools are putting a dark cloud over the minds of our children.

A study finds roughly 1-in-7 children in the United States have at least one treatable mental health illness.

Patricia Jackson is a nurse by profession, but by passion she’s ignites and guides young people.

“When I come to this space… I leave everything out there,” said founder and CEO of We Ride Too.

At Oakland City Stables and other staging areas in the Oakland Hills, Jackson uses horses to promote mental health. She has three horses names Nita, Denver, and Nola.

“Nita meets them exactly where they are,” Jackson said. “They have a feeling that they’re leading, but [Nita’s] actually the one leading. She can sense our emotions and our presence.”

Roughly 10 years ago, Jackson said someone told her horsemanship and Black people don’t go hand and hand.

“I was told one time that Black people don’t ride,” Jackson said.

She saw that as a day to educate and change that false narrative.

We Ride Too was born from that. We Ride Too is a non-profit which exposes under-served young people to horses.

“[I’ve been around horses] for like as long as I can remember. Like I was little. Very tiny,” said 13-year-old Camryn Smart a We Ride Too equestrian.

She said We Ride Too helped her experience a horse’s forgiving heart.

“Helpful in the long run with my mental health and quarantine and just struggles with stress and everything,” Smart said. “You know there’s school stress and at home stress. Then you go to see your horse, it ends.”

Trained professionals give hands-on equine experience through We Ride Too, helping kids learn to touch, feed and groom horses before getting lessons on horseback riding.

“Fun. Very, very fun,” Francis Mtchona said. “You get to build a relationship with the horse and it’s fun to be with them. I think they build my confidence.”

Horses like Nita are the bridges to building community.

In 2021, the Silicon Valley Horse Show partnered with We Ride Too as it’s beneficiary charity, where proceeds from donations go to support their program.

This year We Ride Too is planning on bringing four riders to the show which is is May 11-14 at the Pleasanton Equestrian Center.

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