City Slickers Youths to Compete at The 2003 Winter
Wellington, Florida January 13, 2003 -- The combination of
children from the rough and tough, inner cities of Connecticut competing
at the most prestigious horse show venue in the United States sounds
like the stuff of a Hollywood movie. But thats whats
going to happen when seven youngsters and five horses from the City
Slickers Equestrian Program arrive at The 2003 Winter Equestrian
Festival in Wellington for the month of February.
City Slickers is a non-profit organization which provides inner-
city children in Connecticut, ages 11 to 17, with year-round horse-
and farm-related experiences. Careers within the horse industry
are offered for the older participants. According to Ruth Fried,
director of City Slickers, many of these children would be dropping
out of school, having babies, doing drugs and joining gangs
if it were not for this program. City Slickers attempts to take
these children out of a world mired in hopelessness by showing them
the horse world, an environment rich in love, caring and personal
Children become eligible to join City Slickers in the sixth grade.
Selection is based upon an essay written by each child, parental
permission and the number of openings. Once a child begins with
the program, he or she usually remains for three or four years.
In addition to teaching how to ride and take care of horses, City
Slickers builds upon academics taught in the classroom. There are
regular, required essay assignments and math exercises, such as
determining the perimeter of a riding ring. The participants also
develop interpersonal and teamwork skills and learn anger management.
Through the generosity of Eugene R. Mische, President of Stadium
Jumping, Inc., The Festivals producer, the five City Slicker
horses will be provided with complimentary stabling, feed, hay and
bedding, with the seven riders receiving free entry to any of the
competition classes. But the elbow grease will be provided by the
City Slickers riders themselves -- they will be responsible for
the mucking, feeding, riding and grooming. Jet Blue will furnish
the airline transportation.
The City Slickers horses and riders will be seen competing in the
junior jumper, hunter and equitation classes against some of the
top junior horses and riders in the U. S. Their participation will
not only enhance the level of performance, but will enrich and elevate
the overall spirit of The Festival.