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Because of Horses

Dec 7, 2018

Elise’s guest today is Patricia Kelly, President and CEO of Ebony Horsewomen Inc., in Hartford, Connecticut.


What began in 1984 as a cultural enrichment organization made up of African-American female equestrians has evolved into a devoted team of mental health professionals and horse specialists working to guide over 300 at-risk youth annually towards successful lives. Perhaps most importantly, by creating a safe and welcoming oasis, by providing structure, and by teaching self-respect and self-worth, Pat is demonstrating to youngsters who desperately need it, the resonating message that they matter. For her dedication to these youth, Pat has been inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and named by CNN as a Top 10 CNN Hero.


In today’s episode, Pat shares how helping at-risk youth extends far beyond teaching them to ride, how the program originated and has evolved, stories of children in the program and how they’ve progressed, and the commonalities Pat has observed that the horses are particularly adept at addressing. She also shares deeply personal stories, including the unexpected kindness that led to her first connection with horses, her father’s riding experiences as the son of former slaves living on the same plantation where they were in bondage, Pat’s service as a United States Marine and how she returned to horses, and the joy – and challenges – she and her team experience every day through working with at-risk youth.


Topics of Discussion:

[:19] About Elise’s guest today, Patricia Kelly.

[1:18] Pat explains how Ebony Horsewomen is so much more than just teaching youth how to ride.

[3:28] Pat speaks about the beautiful oasis they have created at Ebony Horsewomen.

[6:40] The Holocaust survivor, the unexpected kindness of an elderly neighbor, and Pat’s first experience with horses.

[10:27] How Pat learned her father had been a jockey and how his fear of horses affected her.

[15:09] Pat’s insight into why her dad gave up riding.

[17:36] Did Pat’s love of horses bring her closer to her father?

[18:00] Pat’s experience rediscovering her passion for horses after serving in the United States Marine Corps.

[22:05] When and how Ebony Horsewomen came to be.

[22:26] What it meant for Ebony Horsewomen to be recognized by the Tournament of Roses Parade, as well as being chosen by the state of Connecticut as Goodwill Ambassadors.

[26:09] Elise shares an excerpt from CNN’s paying tribute to Pat as a Top 10 CNN Hero.

[27:00] Pat talks about the children’s lives outside of the Ebony Horsewomen stables and why the program is so meaningful to these often forgotten youth. She also shares some stories of children in the program.

[36:10] About Elise’s book, A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons.

[36:49] Pat explains the important skills young people develop at Ebony Horsewomen.

[40:40] It’s not just about the horses: how the program impacts many aspects of the young people’s lives.

[46:45] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses.

[47:56] Why horses are particularly well-suited for aiding in this therapeutic process.

[49:26] Pat’s insights into the youngsters’ experience/therapy with the horses.

[51:34] Pat shares a story of a boy’s experience with the horses.

[52:46] About Because of Horses Facebook page!

[53:51] The commonalities Pat has observed among participants that the horses are particularly adept at addressing.

[55:38] Pat shares another story of a young boy in the program and his amazing progress since.

[56:46] What Pat wants people to know most about the kids in the program.

[1:01:26] Where to find Pat online and learn more about Ebony Horsewomen.


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

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Mentioned in this Episode:

Ebony Horsewomen Incorporated (Phone #: 860-293-2914) (Email Address)

Ebony Horsewomen Facebook
Ebony Horsewomen Twitter

National Cowgirl Hall of Fame
CNN Heroes

Tournament of Roses Parade

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Chand

United States Pony Club

Next week’s episode of Because of Horses

Because of Horses Facebook Page


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