“Concrete cowboys” have new home, new horse riding programs

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The Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy will run its programs from Dream Park in New Jersey while its new facility is being built.
Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy Executive Director Erin Brown with a young horseman. PURA will run its programs from Dream Park in New Jersey while its new facility is being built. © PURA

Philadelphia’s “concrete cowboys” have a new place to call home in nearby New Jersey while their own new equestrian centre is being developed.

Having the use of Dream Park in Logan Township, 20 minutes away, enables the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA) to launch its flagship programs this month. The new temporary base was established with the help of Irish showjumper Kevin Babington, North Run Farm’s Missy Clark and Dream Park Director Flossie Ale, and will remain PURA’s home until the new Cobbs Creek Facility is completed in Philadelphia later this year.

PURA’s programs starting this month will include riding lessons (hunt seat and stock seat), Junior Concrete Cowboys and Cowgirls, and natural horsemanship classes and clinics. The Junior Concrete Cowboys and Cowgirls program will include horsemanship classes, barn management, horse husbandry and grooming, equine first aid and anatomy/physiology.

PURA was founded by producers and directors of the Idris Alba movie Concrete Cowboy to preserve the legacy and culture of black urban cowboys in the city.

The group started the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraiser last year in partnership with “Concrete to Show Jumping” which was created by PURA executive director Erin Brown and Missy Clark. The campaign is helping raise $US2 million for the new permanent facility in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia.

The new facility will provide stabling for 20 to 25 horses, paddocks and a covered arena, as well as recreational space for other youth and veteran programs.

PURA says the new facility “will provide a space unlike any other for children, teens and adults to experience horses up close and personal”.

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