OAKLAND (KPIX 5) Getting young people out of an urban environment and onto a horse, might seem like an improbable, if not impossible task. But not for Odest Logan. For the last four years now, Logan has been teaching young African American kids to ride horses. His Oakland-based non-profit Spurred Up, has provided lessons, field trips, even the use of horses for riding, all for free. Four years ago Logan recruited his grandson,and other African American kids, to start riding.
“There’s an outside, there’s open air,” explained Logan. “And there is more than the concrete jungle that they are experiencing every day as they go to school and come home.”
Born and raised in Oakland himself, Logan did not started riding until he was an adult. Now retired from a 37-year career with P.G. & E, his passion for horses, and the history of the African American cowboy, have led Logan to his new role. Spurred Up literally mean to give guidance, and Logan told KPIX 5 that is exactly what he has done. Riding students must start with the basics, like cleaning stalls and keeping the horses clean and fed. It is hard work but Logan has said the program’s goal has to be achieved by following the what he calls the ‘Four E’s’, Expectations, Education, Experience and Entertainment.
“These are opportunities that if you never get out to see and experience, you’ll never have that opportunity. You will never have that thought to do that,” said Logan. “The spurred up world, or the equine world, or the cowboy world, however you want to call it, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of hard work, and there’s a lot of respect and tradition that goes into it and that’s an honor to be a part of.”
Spurred Up has been sponsored by the Bill Picket Rodeo. And several former students have gone on to have careers in horsemanship. Logan is in the process of trying to expand Spurred Up so that more young people can take part in the program. And he has had reason to celebrate. One of Logan’s riders just took first place in the Junior Division of the California Cattle Penning competition in Turlock.