When she was a child, Erin Brown discovered horses in an unlikely spot: an urban farm in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. The farm was Fletcher Street Stables, a haven for horses and humans, where kids learned discipline and how to ride and care for horses. And horses that were down on their luck found kids who fed them, nurtured them, rode them and never saw them as anything less than creatures who deserved love and kindness.

Philadelphia’s urban riders have been part of the city’s fabric for more than a century, although the tiny patches of open land for horses are vanishing—victims of gentrification and urban development.

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