Grantee Spotlight: Ebony Horsewomen

337 Vine Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

Every month the Arts Council spotlights a grantee to showcase the amazing impact your United Arts Campaign contributions have on the community and beyond. This month’s spotlight is on Ebony Horsewomen. Read our previous grantee spotlights

True or False: There exists a 584 acre public park In the City of Hartford?


Keney Park, which totals 694 acres is located in the North End of Hartford and spills over into Windsor. One of the properties on this serene piece of land is  Ebony Horsewomen, a nonprofit founded by Pat Kelly in 1984, whose mission is to empower youth toward successful lives through the use of equine assisted growth, learning programs and activities. The organization’s equine assisted therapy, horsemanship training and academic programming build leaders, deter destructive behavior and increases academic achievement in youth. They do this  seven days a week through Riding Lessons, the Junior Mounted Patrol program (where young men are trained to become Mounted Park Rangers for Keney Park), the Ladies Dressage Team and the Saturday Saddle and 4H Club. Additionally, there is a Summer Day Camp as well as an Extended Day Program, running September to June. Their fully functioning farm includes horses (of course!) chickens, rabbits, ferrets and even geckos!

Targeting the at-risk population, Ebony Horsewomen boasts numerous inspirational stories of transformation in the youth that have worked through their programs. More recently, the story of a high school student who entered the program with drug and behavioral issues, but turned his life around and was accepted into an Ivy-League school this fall.

Upon enrollment, participants learn to care for their horse, and develop an understanding and respect for the animal. While routinely cleaning out a stall isn’t the most glamorous thing, it could actually end up saving a horse’s life. For example, Kelly advocates that a life-threatening illness can be identified through the horse’s manure.  This is key because there are time sensitive windows (six hours or less) where an animal will perish if they don’t receive immediate care.  After demonstrating their commitment and responsibility, participants have the opportunity to ride and train.

On June 13th, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Ebony Horsewomen will hold their 11th Annual Spring Festival, (funded through our Hartford Events Grant) and will include a couples-only dance contest with cash prizes, food, entertainment and hay rides.

For more information, visit:, call: (860) 293-2914 or email:

One more thing: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehawwww.

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