This is extremely necessary!
A Black-owned Atlanta ranch is using horseback riding as a form of therapy, Travel Noire reports.
Darryl Fletcher is the owner of SOOFA ranch, an acronym for Stretch Out On Faith Again. For more than two decades, he dreamed of having a farm that he could use to help young people and create a space where they could learn how to handle anxiety, fear, anger, etc. Since purchasing his land in Fairburn, Georgia, he has done just that.
“The name simply is to inspire people. Maybe you tried something before, and you need a little bit of encouragement to stretch on faith and try it again,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher uses the horses as therapy, creating a program that helps people of all ages. He utilizes the Chattahoochee River as a guide where people of all ages come to ride the horses along the trail as a therapeutic experience. On the rides, they’re able to build confidence, reflect, deal with anxiety and learn better communication skills. It’s not just about riding horses for Fletcher; it’s also about helping people gain the necessary tools and mindsets they can take away and apply in everyday life.
“We make sure that a person has a connection with the horse they’re riding. We make sure they are comfortable riding that horse, and once we get them saddled, we’re building their confidence because a horse is very in tune with a person’s emotions. When you’re excited or sad, the horse can feel it. Our experience gives you a glimpse of what we call ‘Equine Assisted Learning Therapy’ to help you be mindful of your emotions,” Fletcher explained.
SOOFA is now looking to expand the ranch and incorporate agricultural efforts through land cultivation. Currently, Fletcher and his team have identified more than 100 acres of land they’re hoping to use for their plans. He wants the ranch to be a place to continue to mentor young people and offer them invaluable skills.
“The newer generation has become very impatient because of technology. It has given them everything instantly. Our vision is to teach them how to develop and establish goals through agriculture. If you give them seeds and show them how seeds germinate, you now begin to understand what it takes to accomplish a goal. It’s not something that you just wish for. It’s something that you actually have to strategize and be disciplined for,” Fletcher said.
For more information about SOOFA, click here.
Photo Courtesy of SOOFA