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Central State University Extension Charters the Dayton Urban Riding Center as the first official 4-H Charter since becoming a Land-Grant Institution in 2014


On Friday, February 3rd, Central State Extension charter’s first official 4-H program with Dayton Urban Riding Center located in Dayton, Ohio

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research Between 1890 and 1899, African American jockeys won the Kentucky Derby six times, but by the early 1900s, they were history. In July of 2020 riding clubs like Compton Cowboys and Houston’s Nonstop Riders, shed the spotlight on this disparity when they rode their horses during a protest march.

“The Buffalo Soldiers, who were among the first National Park rangers, date back to the 1860s; and Black cowboys worked on ranches before and after the Civil War, especially in states with big cattle industries like Texas, where I grew up,” said writer Sarah Enelow-Snyder in her article for Conde Nast Traveler, titled For Black Equestrians, Horseback Riding Brings Power and Peace. “…they subverted the old narrative that horses carry mounted police high above Black pedestrians. Instead, we saw (witnessed) horses uplifting Black people.”

“This is just one of the many reasons why our partnership with the Dayton Urban Riding Center (DURC) is so important,” said Prosper Doamekphor, Ph.D., program leader for Central State University 4-H. “Youth of color who reside in urban areas don’t have opportunities to see black riders, let alone opportunities to become one. For them, an equestrian culture does not exist. This partnership changes all that.

Janet Corney, site coordinator for Central State’s Extension program grew up on a farm and she is just as excited about this partnership. “Even though I grew up on a farm, I had few opportunities to interact with horses,” she said. “Keeping horses is expensive, and since most farms in Ohio are small, having a horse is a luxury many farmers can’t afford.”

“In Texas in the 1990s, I felt like the only girl stuffing my curly afro under a cowboy hat at 4-H competitions,” states Brianna Noble, as quoted in the article Horseback Riding Brings Power and Peace. Despite the challenges of often being the only black competitor, Nobles acknowledges that riding helped her “transcend the academic stress of school and the social expectations of that age,” adding that riding continues to bring her back to a peaceful mental space.

“One in four cowboys was black. So why aren’t they more present in popular culture?” Asks Katie Nodjimbadem in her article “The Lesser-Known History of African American Cowboys.” Today’s youth know nothing of former slave and cowboy Nat Love who recounted stories from his life in his 1907 autobiography. Being a cowboy was common among the newly freed slaves because it was “one of the few jobs open to men of color,” says William Loren Katz, a scholar of African American history. The DURC will also teach this lost history to its 4-H members. “We will work to keep the great historical contributions of black people as they relate to horse riding alive,” said Channey Goode, founder of the Dayton Urban Riding Club (DURC).

The Dayton Urban Riding Club’s mission is to provide urban youth with an opportunity to escape daily urban life by experiencing educational equestrian activities including learning about careers, riding, care, and horse anatomy.

The benefits of horseback riding are numerous and include improving mental health, reducing stress, increasing socialization skills, improving cognitive abilities, increasing empathy, reducing anxiety, depression, and loneliness, helping with goal setting and achievement, building self-confidence, and improving self-awareness, helping with weight loss, and building muscle strength, reducing the impact of trauma and grief, stimulating motor skills and senses of special needs children and adults.

DURC was founded in 2007 by Goode who said that he enjoyed riding horses when he was growing up and lamented that children in the urban community did not have the opportunity to interact with horses as he did. He began talking with community leaders and pastors about his vision and garnered their support for an urban riding club. When he was introduced to 4-H leadership at Central State, they all agreed this would be the perfect first Charter Club and began work to make that happen.

“We decided that we should celebrate and have our official Charter Ceremony in February, in honor of Black History Month and to show respect for black equestrians all over the world, past and present,” said 4-H educator Jodi Black. “We are super excited about this partnership.”

The Dayton Urban Riding Club will provide Dayton youth with opportunities to care for and upkeep the horses through feeding, grooming, basic anatomy, and examination. Additionally, participants will be introduced to equestrian-related careers such as training, sports, sciences, veterinarian services, and boarding.

“The goal of the program is to give participants a chance to decompress from their day-to-day lives and get out into some fresh air, learn some skills, and most importantly foster their creative senses and will to explore,” said Goode. “The 4-H piece adds the concept of leadership, which bolsters what we provide through the Riding Center.” Youth between the ages of 8-18 will be eligible to participate as 4-H members, but adults 18 and up can also participate as volunteers, mentors, and ultimately staff added Goode. To learn more about DURC visit

To learn more about 4-H programs at Central State University email


Photo 1: DURC Ribbon Cutting


Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University with a 135-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. The University, which has been named HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest, fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

EEO Statement: Central State University, an 1890 Land-Grant Institution, is committed to the full inclusion of all people and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, marital or family status, military status, national origin, political beliefs, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. If reasonable accommodations are needed, please contact the Department of Human Resources at 937-376-6540. Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution.

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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