Our goals are simple due to the factors at hand. On a reservation the size of Rhode Island and Delaware live herds of horses ready to ride and large sections of tribal land. Combined with long, dark winters often averaging frigid temps and a youth population with a hereditary desire to bond with animals 10 times their size.
In the hills just outside the reservations largest community of Pine Ridge, our arena will be open to all youth with shuttle service to and from camp weekdays only starting late October through late-March. With snacks provided and required homework time, our youth will also be provided with the knowledge passed down through generations from paid staff and volunteers well versed in the Lakota Language, traditions of their nation and animal husbandry. Ponies to 15-hand horses will fill the arena with groups of young riders divided by level participating in all disciplines of horsemanship.
With lofty yet obtainable goals, including trail rides throughout the warm months, student trained horse sales to raise donations and travel opportunities to other native reservation’s festivals, we hope to encourage today’s and future generations sense of pride. This would be a healthy alternative from the prevalent poverty and substance abuse, a major contributing factor to late winter’s “suicide season” a number four times the national average. A time when pressure of 17 people per drafty single-wide trailer, living in chaotic, desperate situations deprives the young mind of positive reinforcement. This is the motivation behind Sage to Saddle, to see the same kids who are so bright and free in the summer months, riding the streets bareback to a friends house, stopping by the market for cold drink to know with help from you that when the winter months hit, they still have a place to go.