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HHLA is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that has been working with organizations and institutions in the communities of Watts, Compton and others since 1999.

The mission of Horses in the Hood (HHLA) is to introduce young people from low-income communities in South Los Angeles to the joy of riding and caring for horses.

Participating in these activities enables young people to develop responsibility, empathy and mastery of new skills that build self-esteem and confidence.

Instruction emphasizes safety and logical progression. As students acquire skills, they are encouraged to assist in the instruction of others.

Our goal at HHLA is to make this experience available to as many young people as we can fit into available weeks of summer.


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Kathy Kusner started riding in Virginia at ten years old, mucking stalls and grooming to pay her pony’s expenses. This was during segregation in the South, and Kathy formed bonds with the African American grooms who were denied service in restaurants and hotels at horse shows. Kathy would take their lunch orders and bring the food back to eat with them at the barn.

Kathy became an internationally recognized show jumping rider before age 20. She joined the U.S. Equestrian Team in 1962, winning a gold medal in the team event at the 1963 Pan American Games, a silver medal at the 1967 Pan American Games and the Ladies’ European Championship in 1967.

She competed at three Olympics—Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968) and Munich (1972), where she won a silver medal in the team jumping event.

In 1967 Kusner applied for a jockey’s license but was denied because of her gender. In 1968 she prevailed in Maryland court and earned her license. She was the first woman to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the world’s largest steeplechase.

Retired from competition, Kathy continues to be involved with the world of horses, giving clinics on riding, training, and competing.

Kathy founded the Horses for the Hood in 1999.


Horses in the Hood has been working with organizations and institutions that benefit and enrich young people of Watts, Compton and surrounding communities since 1999. Since our inception, HHLA has been dedicated to opening doors to the possibilities of better lives and futures.


Horse Camps




Years in service