Mustang Troop

Education

Kentucky Horse Park
Mustang Troop

This program serves at-risk youth through the channels
of horsemanship and riding.

One of Our Most Beloved Outreach Programs

The Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop has been serving local youth since 1994. Developed by the Kentucky Horse Park’s Equine Education Department, this program serves at-risk youth through the channels of horsemanship and riding. The Mustang Troop program provides a horse camp-style experience for underserved children that in many cases, is life-changing.

Mustang Troop

Mustang Troop Partnership

In 2019, the Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop forged a partnership with Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program that brings new life and energy to the program. Through its contacts in the community and its commitment to youth, Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program helps identify, recruit, and transport participants to the Kentucky Horse Park and serves as an outstanding partner.

Supporters of the Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop

 

Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19

In 2020, the Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop celebrated another successful summer in spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19. Through a collaboration with Consolidated Summer Enrichment program, twenty-five children were identified who qualified for the program and demonstrated an interest in learning about horses.

Each child received a backpack and lunch box filled to the brim with learning materials, craft supplies, snacks, and gift cards for lunch. Every week day for two weeks, children participated in a lesson over Zoom with KHP Education Supervisor, Amanda Reardon. Topics covered included grooming, safety, horse body parts and anatomy, horse racing, horse tack, and horse history. At the conclusion of each week, the children were invited to visit the KHP for a socially distance tour and trail ride.

In addition to their experience at the KHP, Mustang Troop participants spent additional time learning about the life of Isaac Murphy. Participants read and studied the poem by Frank X Walker, “I Dedicate This Ride” and had the opportunity to participate in a Zoom call with Mr. Walker. They also virtually rehearsed and performed dramatic readings of Mr. Walker’s poetry in collaboration with Lexington Children’s Theatre.

Through a collaboration with the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Mustang Troop participants created a quilt inspired by the life of Isaac Murphy and other African-American jockeys, titled “I Dedicate this Quilt.” The quilt is now on display in the Visitor Information Center.

A Message from Our Partner

With the onset of Covid-19, our partnership required an exceptional level of enthusiasm to combat the negative influences presented by this unprecedented time for youth.  It also required some non-traditional thinking to put together programming that would be educational, engaging, positive and fun. The goal was to find a way to connect youth to the men and women that shaped the Equine Industry in such a way that motivates and inspires youth to become a part of the rich history that is so carefully captured by The Kentucky Horse Park.

Thanks to a shared vision, the ability to work through uncertainty, and the desire to maintain a “Keep Kids First” mindset, we were able to create a comprehensive, highly structured 4-week Equestrian Education Program. This included a two-week deep dive into Isaac Murphy  through the lens of Frank X Walker; connections to landmarks in Lexington tied to African Americans in the Horse Industry; and the proud creation of special quilt…hand made by the students in our program. The final two-weeks creatively sought to capture the traditional horse camp experience through hands-on activities, online education classrooms and visits to The Kentucky Horse Park.

Demetria Blair

This has definitely created some “firsts” for the Partnership. Together, we extended The Kentucky Horse Park experience (two additional weeks); adopted Arts Education as the launch pad for making connections between past, present and future Kentucky Legends in history; continued the existing equine education program in a virtual environment; and maintained the highlight of the Mustang Troop experience…The Horse Ride!

Accomplishing all of this in a Covid-19 environment speaks volumes about the commitment of The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, The Kentucky Horse Park and all those that make decisions that create positive experiences for youth that experience significant barriers. On behalf of Consolidated Baptist Church and The Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program, thank you for choosing us as Partners in Education. We look forward to exploring even more educational opportunities that will build lasting positive impressions in the community.

Demetria Blair, Program Director, Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program

Poetry by Mustang Troop Participants

Two Great African-American Jockeys

By La’Mequa Lewis

I can’t imagine how it would be
To be a horse jockey like Isaac Murphy
He was a teen when he started 14 to be exact
Meaning he was only four years older than me
And that’s a fact!
He won many horse races, he was one of a kind
He was one of the best African American Horse Jockeys of all time
He had a way of training his horses
He was nice and he was kind
That’s why he is a legend of his time
Oliver Lewis another African American Horse Jockey
Won several horse races back in the day
We celebrate his accomplishments
By naming Newtown Pike Extension
Oliver Lewis Way
Every day I pass by Isaac Murphy’s mural
And Oliver Lewis Way but I never gave it a thought
Until I was exposed to the Horse Park
And had the opportunity to be taught.

1901

By Joshua Preacely

1901 flew by like a bumblebee,
It happened faster than the eye could see.
Gone from making $8 a month to a thousand per race,
Now look at me, who could fathom my pace.

Standing in front of thousands who love me,
Eminence is under me prepared for the journey.
I know we have trained but the pressure weighed on me like a mountain,
Will I be able to contain what’s racing through my brain, am I outdone?

Minutes gone in a flash,
We’re getting lined up in the starting stalls.
Is this really happening?
Could I win the 1901 Kentucky Derby.

Am I, Jimmy Winkfield, ready to face the sand,
Am I, a small sharecropper, ready to take a stand.
I’ve won so many races, what’s going through my head?

NO, don’t succumb to doubt,
If I hold back now, goodbye to the crowds shouts.
I am the best at what I do,
One with the horse down to the shoe.

Wake up, it’s game time,
There’s no way I’ll do anything but climb.
Everything goes away now it just me and his Eminence,
*Buh-dump* *Buh-dump* We are in perfect sync, with a high amount of resonance.

Look out! we’re about to change the game,
We’ll rise to the top and the crowd will sing my name.
*Silence* …. …. …. *gUnShoT* The race has begun,
With haste, Eminence and I push up the pace of the whole race,
Silence as I dominate by almost two whole lengths.
As I cross the finish line you can hear my cries of joy sharply,
Because I just won the 1901 Kentucky Derby.