When Hartford, CT native Patricia Kelly was a child, she sometimes experienced race prejudice and felt isolated. When a neighbor invited her to get to know his horse, her life changed. While learning to groom and ride horses, Kelly found peace and comfort that has lasted throughout her life.
After returning home from the Marine Corps, Kelly nursed the idea of sharing the gift of horses with her community. Starting first with Black and Latina women, she founded Ebony Horsewomen, one of the first all-female African-American equestrian organizations in the nation. Her equestrian center, which started in a small barn, now focuses primarily on young people. Located in Keney Park, it boasts a 6,000-square-foot indoor arena, several outdoor arenas, stables, classrooms, a summer camp, a dining area, and more.
The organization’s resources, gained through volunteer, community and sponsor support, serve more than 400 Hartford youth. Girls are involved with the Young Ladies Dressage Team and Leadership Academy. Boys take part in The Junior Mounted Patrol, serving their community under the guidance of male mentors and even providing security at community events.
Operating for more than 35 years, Ebony Horsewomen has been an amazing ride! Click below to learn more about how Patricia Kelly dared to envision young people taking the reins of their lives and traveling beyond their material circumstances to fulfill great dreams.