Sydney Knott was inspired to create the nonprofit Horses4Heroes and an accompanying family equestrian center near Summerlin after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We wanted to do something for the community and we had horses in our backyard already, so we decided to host these gatherings for first responders,” Knott, 62, said of herself and her daughters. “It became really popular and ended up turning into Horses4Heroes.”
Horses4Heroes, founded more than a decade ago in Las Vegas, is dedicated to offering recreational, instructional and morale-boosting activities with horses, Knott said. The organization hosts camps during the summer and provides free services to military veterans and first responders. Additionally, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until September, the organization is hosting an open barn where individuals can pay $10 to ride a horse.
For five years, Knott held summer camps and lessons at Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. In April, the organization celebrated the grand opening of a location near Lone Mountain Road.
“I think what they’re doing is important because in society today, people don’t know how to create a relationships or carry on conversations with each other,” said Jordan Korb, a volunteer at the camp. “The kids not having access to phones or tablets encourages them to make friendships that we’re hoping will be lifelong.”
Korb found out about the organization through a post on Facebook.
“We really wanted our kids to kind of have the same experiences as we did growing up,” Korb said. “My husband is from the Oklahoma area and I’m from South Carolina. We grew up around horses, so when we moved to Vegas it was a really pleasant surprise to find this organization and be involved and now (be) more like a family.”
Knott said the summer camp is the organization’s most popular service and generates about 70 percent of its income. Ten weeklong camps are offered, back to back. Parents who are members can sign their children up for each week or just one. Camps usually cost about $150, Knott said.
“The other 30 percent comes from donations, fundraisers,” Knott said of the organization’s income. “Up until recently, I was paying about $10,000 out of pocket each month. This is important, though. They’re off their phones, they’re off their tablets. They’re completely unplugged here. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never heard a child complain about wanting their video games. The minute you take it away and replace it with something like this, they don’t miss it.”
If you go
What: Horses4Heroes Summer Adventure Camp
When: Weekly through Aug. 9
Learn more: horses4heroes.org/las-vegas