The Darkroom

Learning life skills on horseback at City Ranch

The Baltimore Sun

When Ahesahmahk and Jean Dahn founded City Ranch, Inc. in 2007, they brought horses to people in the Baltimore area who might not ever get the chance to ride one. The non-profit equestrian program still transports the animals, but they also lease 29 acres in Windsor Mill where people can visit the twelve fully-grown horses and a 4-month-old colt named Lucky Surprise.

Ahesahmahk Dahn, called “Mr. Dahn,” says he wanted to “introduce urban people to horses to teach them life skills and show them coexistence with animals.” In the creation of City Ranch, he also wanted children to be exposed to the horse industry and to create work opportunities.

The ranch employs four workers full time and rely on vounteers to keep the operation going. The program averages 4,000 riders a year and Mr. Dahn sees more growth ahead. In addition to the volunteers, donations help the 501(c) 3 expand the scope of the current program. There is a wish list on their website.

There are life lessons to be learned even in just a brief encounter with Mr. Dahn and his horses. He wants to “help some of them work through their fears,” “to see what they can accomplish in a short period of time” and to “show them that they can learn and do it. The horse gives them immediate feedback,” says Dahn.

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