Freedom Hill Stables

by Terry Watson | July 14th, 2017
(Photo by Shaw Photography Group)

(Photo by Shaw Photography Group)

Who would have ever imagined that being sent away to a private school to avoid being caught up in the streets would ignite one man’s passion for the equine life. Meet Kweli Sudderth, a Greensboro native who found himself very early on gravitating towards a life in the streets. Sudderth shares, “Back in the ‘90’s when I was young my mom sent me off to a private school that was on a farm because she felt I was hanging around the wrong influences.” While attending school he was exposed to a different way of life. For the first time he found himself surrounded by animals that he could actually work with instead of merely seeing them in a parade, at the circus, or on television.

Though his initial responsibilities were to maintain the animal pens, which included pigs and cows, he found himself immediately intrigued with the horses. Kweli recalls being afraid the first time he climbed on the back of a horse. He says, “I had to learn to ride because I wasn’t old enough to drive. The only other form of transportation on the farm was to either walk or ride a horse. After I took that first ride I was caught up. I fell in love, you know. I developed this amazing obsession with horses.” Soon horseback riding had developed into something more than keeping him off the streets, and it certainly far surpassed being a hobby. Instead, horseback riding became an intentional way of life.

Looking back, Mr. Sudderth is appreciative of the fact that his mother wanted to expose him to something more than his cultural and community’s traditional way of life. This is what he desires to share with the youth of today. He wants them to know that the Greensboro community has other recreational activities to offer than just football, basketball, baseball, and standing on a corner. It is his desire that all youth be exposed to other normalcies such as horseback riding because he has firsthand experience of how positively it can affect their lives.

“I was raised without a father. Though my mom is my “shero” the one thing she couldn’t do for me was be a man. So for a minute the streets had me, but eventually I realized that every time I climbed on top of a horse I thought differently; I felt differently; and I behaved differently. Horseback riding changed me. It kept me off the streets. If it hadn’t been for that nine times out of ten I would have been out there on somebody’s corner doing something I didn’t have any business doing.” Once Kweli recognized the effects horses had on him he began saving his money to purchase his own horse and yes, his mom assisted him along the way with that too.

Purchasing his first horse and finding a place to board it was the impetus for acquiring his own stable. It was also a way for him to impact the youth of his community and allow them to share in his life changing experience. Kweli says, “Over the years I’ve seen what’s going on in the world and in our community, especially with our youth, all the violence … I just said there’s got to be something I can do to help calm this generation. If riding a horse can impact me and change me maybe it can do the same thing for somebody else.” Having this mind set is what further motivated Sudderth in obtaining his own stables and it was not to long afterward when Freedom Hill Stables came to pass.

Kweli admits that in the beginning he experienced a lot of heartaches, disappointments, and setbacks. He completely gives God all the praise for sending him, Mike Foster, his horse trainer. He credits Mike for training the horses to be gentle and obedient. “I knew this was God ordained because Mike literally just rode up my drive way one day because he saw the sign. Once we started talking I realized he had the type of personality that connects easily with people from all different walks of life. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the training arena and he’s experienced with therapeutic riding, too. I knew he was exactly what Freedom Hill Stables needed. So he signed on and it was one of the best moves for both of us.” Thanks to Mike’s ability of creating riding programs, Freedom Hill Stable is now able to offer multiple types of riding activities that range from riding camps for inner city youth to hosting events and partnering with nonprofit organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Informing the Piedmont Triad Area about Freedom Hill Stables is only one part of Mr. Foster’s responsibilities. He is also charged with making sure that the horses are gentle enough to calm all types of individuals. Thanks to Mike, Freedom Hill’s horses are docile and are able to safely cater to people of all ages including those with disabilities. The horses are also trained for therapeutic riding. According to Kweli, “There’s nothing more calming than looking into a horses eyes. I mean you have this big gentle animal that loves you. They just have a way of putting you into a different space and calming you down. And that’s what our horses do for people. Calm them.” Thanks to Mike’s natural ability of matching the rider’s personality and riding experience with their horses (Arabian, Quarter, Walking, and German Warm Blood) anyone coming for a ride at these stables is certain to return.

Freedom Hill Stables is nestled on 14 acres of lush green land and has clean and comfortable stables for boarding horses. It offers secure training pins for the novice and trails for the intermediate and more experienced rider. They also offer attractive moderately priced packages for Beginner and Private Clinics, Private Lessons, One-on-One Lessons, and Trail Rides. Additionally, one of Mike’s favorite horseback riding packages, the Horse Experience, promises to make you so comfortable with horseback riding that you will be proficient enough to ride a horse while vacationing at the beach or riding in the mountains. Simple pleasure riding packages for individuals, couples, and groups are also available for purchase.

For more information about purchasing a riding package at Freedom Hill Stables or customizing a Unique Event (Weddings, Corporate, Baby Showers, Gender Revealing, Ladies Night Out, and Bon Fires) give them a call or visit today. Happy Trails!

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