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WATCH: The Concrete Cowboys of Philadelphia

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 04/05/16

A small horse stable is making a difference in the lives of inner-city teens

Southwest Philadelphia is a difficult area, but 18-year-old Shahir Drayton has found a way to stay out of trouble — he rides horses. He first began to ride after he turned 10 and he loved it.

“The horses really do help you with aggression. Once you own a horse and you’re out, that’s all your mind’s on,” says Drayton in this Great Big Story video.

Drayton has a man named Malik Divers to thank. For about 10 years now Divers has run a small Philadelphia stable, training teenagers to ride horses and take care of them. He says the horses keep kids off the streets and teach them responsibility.

“It gave me something to do, and something to keep the kids busy with, from running the street, getting in trouble. … I try to give kids something to get away from stuff like that. And when they start learning with the animals, they kind of calm down; they’re teaching and learning, and it helps them out a lot,” Divers says.

Drayton, who’s lost a brother, uncle and many friends to violence, says riding has become a form of therapy.

“I can have fun and not worry about everything else going on around us,” he says.

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