City kids get a taste of horse riding fun at Fletcher Street’s annual fall festival

“For a while I wanted to do something like this,” said riding club founder Ellis Ferrell.

Two children enjoy a ride on a horse in the corral

Two children enjoy a ride on a horse in the corral

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn

Dozens of kids from around Philadelphia on Saturday got a mini escape from city life as they got a chance to try horseback riding at Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club’s annual fall festival.

It’s the second year the nonprofit has held an autumn party at its Strawberry Mansion stables, but the idea is central to its existence, said founder Ellis Ferrell.

“There are so many things that I want to do for the kids,” Ferrell said, explaining that being able to hold space for children to come together is the beating heart of the organization he founded nearly two decades ago. “We always have a Christmas celebration, and for a while I wanted to do something like this for them.”

Ferrell moved to the neighborhood when he himself was a young teen, after learning rodeo growing up in Tallahassee. He started buying horses in Philly, and ran several other riding clubs before establishing Fletcher Street in 2004. The stables have been featured in everything from a Parisian art exhibit to the Hollywood movie “Concrete Cowboy.”

The club hosts various community events throughout the year, including a special get-out-the-vote ride through West Philly in 2020.

At the fall festival, young folks enjoyed face painting, food, a bouncy house, music, and, of course, the animals. Most gravitated to the many horses of Fletcher Street and waited for their turn to saddle up with the help of young volunteers and ride around the corral.

Watching them take happiness in the trots, Ferrell reiterated this why he wants the stables to keep being a place for kids.

Scroll down to see photos of kids enjoying the equestrian party at the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club.

A young boy sits on a saddle atop a horse.

A young boy sits on a saddle atop a horse.

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A girl is given a ride on a horse in the corral

A girl is given a ride on a horse in the corral

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
Children enjoy their time in the corral while waiting to ride a horse

Children enjoy their time in the corral while waiting to ride a horse

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A young girl gets her face painted

A young girl gets her face painted

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A young volunteer gives horse rides to children

A young volunteer gives horse rides to children

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
Children enjoy the inflatable moon bounce

Children enjoy the inflatable moon bounce

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
Ellis Ferrell, founder of Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club

Ellis Ferrell, founder of Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A child feeds one of the horses a carrot

A child feeds one of the horses a carrot

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
Darrin Ferrell, son of Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club founder Ellis Ferrell, watches children ride horses in the corral through the fence

Darrin Ferrell, son of Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club founder Ellis Ferrell, watches children ride horses in the corral through the fence

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A young boy is given a ride on a horse during the fall festival

A young boy is given a ride on a horse during the fall festival

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A mother hugs her son while enjoying the fall festival

A mother hugs her son while enjoying the fall festival

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn
A little boy plays with a horse's neck strap in the corral

A little boy plays with a horse's neck strap in the corral

Nathan Morris / Billy Penn

 

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