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Kids learn about life on the ranch in Laveen

The Knight Ranch in Laveen is showing kids how to experience the life of a cowboy.

PHOENIX — According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, there are roughly 20,000 farms and ranches across Arizona.

Some can be found in the Phoenix Metro. One of those is the Knight Ranch in Laveen. It’s a Black-owned ranch that is passing on the country living to the next generation.

Life on the ranch can start very early. There’s always something to do and that’s what cowgirl in training Nevaeh, 9, loves.

"I like to take care of them. I like to clean their stalls and feed them," she told 12News about her love of horses.

She recently attended the "As the Crows Fly" horse riding group's youth academy and she still remembers her favorite part. 

"The riding because I mostly rode with one hand," she beamed.

Shaheed Muhammad is Nevaeh’s instructor. He also helped put on the riding academy. It came about, "cause every time we'd go out for a ride, the kids see us. They want to pet the horse," he said.

He, alongside fellow cowboy Jarvis Thues or "JT," decided to find a way to introduce more children to the life they love after it was introduced to him by his father.

"Why hold on to something so great, if you can't share it with someone to help them share it with the next generation carrying it on," he commented.

So, with their Flying Crows riding group, they helped dozens of kids learn what it takes to live on the ranch. 

"Getting up there and brushing the horse, and for some who didn't' want to do it at all, to where they were like 'I don't want to go," JT said.

Riding can be the ultimate reward for the work, but everything they learn here can help them outside of the ranch too.

"We teach work ethic, responsibility," Muhammad said. "Compassion and the building that bond and the relationship between themselves and the horse."

That's what he said he hopes to continue teaching Nevaeh who is determined to become a cowgirl just like she was born to do. Her mother showed 12News several pictures of Nevaeh as a small toddler sitting atop horses.

That lifelong love can be out of reach for some. Owning and caring for a horse can be an expensive passion but no one gets left behind at the Knight Ranch.

"Clean a stall, you get to ride. That's the rule. So that's your payment," JT said. "So, a little hard work, it'll pay off." 

But if you love it, like Nevaeh does, it won't ever feel like work.

“As the Crows Fly” riding group will be holding another youth clinic in the fall. But they still ride year-round and give lessons. Those interested can contact them at theflightofthecrows@gmail.com.

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