Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy receives half a million dollars in hopes of keeping riding alive in West Philly – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s equestrian community is thriving. The Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy has just received half a million dollars to help with its fundraising campaign.

“I thought it was a dream,” said Erin Brown, executive director of the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy.

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A dream come true. Erin Brown is called “The Concrete Cowgirl”. She is also the executive director of the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy. Their goal is to bring horseback riding back to West Philly. It’s a community she says has shrunk.

“It was hugely important 20 years ago, but there haven’t been horses in West Philly for a long time, so we’re hoping to bring that back,” Brown said.

The history of horseback riding in Philadelphia was chronicled in the movie “Concrete Cowboy”. Eyewitness News cameras captured exclusive video of Idris Elba filming the film at Strawberry Mansion in the summer of 2019.

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“With the rise of armed violence in this city, children and young people need recreation. They need something to do, a safe haven, and we’ve all grown that up and I know what it’s done for our lives,” Brown said.

The Nicholas Pucciarelli bocce court at Cobbs Creek Park will be renovated to become the academy stables. The outdoor lawn will be their ride and they will also have access to the park trails. The hope is that the Daggett and Vine Street location will be up and running within 18 months.

“The story of the black riders in Philadelphia is that they haven’t owned the real estate that they use,” said Ryan Spak, board member of the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy. “Their culture continues to fade in one form or another. So having a home here gives them that stability, ensures their culture.

“Horses heal and I often think, ‘Not all kids want to play basketball, not all kids want to play football. Some kids want to ride horses,” Brown said.

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In order to receive the state grant, they must match it with fundraising. For more information on the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy, Click here.

Clyde P. Johnson