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The Sound of Hooves Clapping in the Hood
Horses don’t give a hoot if their riders have new Dehner boots or borrowed Ariats, live in Beverly Hills or Boyle Heights, are financial titans or tight on money. They just want to be treated with respect and they’ll respond in kind. Readers of the magazine will recall “Saint of the Hood,” the recent profile by writer-at-large Ed Leibowitz of Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle. The Jesuit famously suspends judgment and gives a piece of his heart to anyone who comes looking for sanctuary. Horses in the Hood has been doing the same for 14 years, offering riding camps to the children of Watts and Compton at the Mill Creek Equestrian Center in Topanga Canyon. (This does not come cheap. Each camp costs $6,000, which Horses in the Hood pays for with donations to horsesinthehood.org). This summer an inaugural group of Eastsiders from Homeboy arrived for the five days of equine trust and bond building. The adults and children were introduced to their mounts and then walked and trotted, jumped over poles, played fervent games of Red Light, Green Light, even went for a trail ride over the course of the week. Friday was graduation day, when we couldn’t decide what moved us more. Homegirl Café’s Dorene Macias paid tribute to the horses, which over the months would meet so many different characters and persevere (she was taking the lesson to heart at Homegirl). Then Boris Jimenez got everyone a little misty-eye when he talked about being incarcerated for 25 years, and that “I didn’t know how good this was going to be,” and you knew he was talking about his appaloosa, Popcorn, and much more.