Sisters with Horses Saddle Club
Only 20 minutes from Uptown Charlotte sits 8 acres of land filled with horses and ponies that doubles as both a hidden gem and a sanctuary for Black women and children who love horses. Angie Simmons passed by the farm every day to and from work as a nurse and ultimately fell in love with this small taste of the countryside. One day while going home from work, Angie decided to stop and introduce herself to the then-owner of the miniature horse farm, Mr. Leon Smith. 5 years later, Angie, with the help of Stable Owner Charles Sanders, work together to create lasting memories for underserved populations here in Charlotte through her very own saddle club, Sisters with Horses.
Angie, Founder of sisters with horses saddle club, left.
Even though Angie has no formal experience with horses, she never forgot the joy she felt on her first horse ride years ago on a guided trail. “The feeling of being on top of something so powerful, but under my control” stuck with her. Wanting to be horseback again, and learn more about such beautiful majestic creatures, Angie found herself looking to join a local, Charlotte-based saddle club. But as a mother, rookie cowgirl, and African American woman, finding groups open to all schedules, backgrounds, and experience levels was difficult. That lack of diversity and inclusion within other local saddle clubs was one of Angie’s biggest motivators in launching Sisters with Horses. With so many women in similar positions, Angie is grateful for her group’s work. “We get to meet folks who’ve never had the opportunity even to stand next to a horse,” Angie says, “We do it for our community, our children, for people of colors, and for women. We just want to give people the opportunity to experience something they may not have had the chance to be around, just like myself.”
NaziRah Mohammad, Vice President of SWH Saddle Club, left, Angie Simmons, Founder, and President of SWH Saddle Club, right
The first all-Black women’s saddle club in Charlotte, Sisters with Horses is made up of eight women, two junior members, and over a dozen horses. These members are healthcare workers and educators; most come with little to no prior horse experience. Together the group, along with stable owner Charles Sanders, hosts events, riding and horse basics classes, and even summer camps. They also engage in annual trail rides and rodeos in the mountains of Null Valley. Now, after battling a global pandemic for the past two years, the organization has a few things in store for the future, including more community outreach, and obtaining a home stable so that all the group’s horses can be together.
Whether you’ve never ridden a horse, or are a trained equestrian, there is space, compassion, and sisterhood waiting for you at Sisters with Horses. “My main thing is just letting folks know that we’re here and that we exist and we want folks to reach out to us,” Angie said.
Contact Sisters With Horses at SisterswithHorses@gmail.com. Photography by Sir Will.