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May 18

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Portola’s Kids Approve Of The McLaren Park Horses

The pilot program for the McLaren Park horseback riding comes to a close after this weekend. While this program had some controversy among some adult (what doesn’t in S.F.?), there is absolutely no question that the horses have been a big hit with the kids of the Portola (of all ages we’d say). We spoke to Emily, a Portola Mom whose daughter cannot get enough of the horses.  She let us know that the operators of the program have welcomed her daughter and any other interested Portola kids to volunteer at the stables. Learning how to safely interact with and care for the large animals, these young volunteers did everything from grooming to mucking out the stable.  She feels that It’s been a true learning experience for these kids growing up in the city, a long way from the nearest farm..  They are gaining an appreciation for nature that most children in urban areas never get the opportunity to experience.

Pot A Gold, the operators for the program, took note of all the interest that the horses have received from neighborhood kids.  They also realized that in S/E San Francisco, not all families can afford the rides.   So, in a very generous move, they asked Chuck Farrugia at Help McLaren Park to extend an invitation for free horseback rides to Portola’s kids programs. Last Wednesday, a group of children from Pelaga Park’s after school program, were given the exciting opportunity to ride around the duck pond for most of the afternoon.  We’ve been told, that this was the first time on a horse for all of these kids.  Chuck shared the pictures from the event with us and their excitement and wonder with the large docile creatures is obvious.   Jim, the site operator and probably  Portola’s first genuine cowboy in a long time, would have liked to have given longer rides through the park but the interest was much higher than anticipated.  Given the popularity, perhaps this is something the Rec & Parks Department could sponsor next time around so more San Francisco kid’s get this unique opportunity?  Either way, the pictures pretty much speak for themselves, Portola’s kid’s love the horses.

Check out our original story on the ride here. Please also visit the SFRPD official site HERE and scroll down to “feedback” section to let the powers that be know how you feel about the program and if it should come back.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/05/portolas-kids-approve-mclaren-park-horses/

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