METRO TIMES (Detroit, Oct 3, 2018) — Excerpts from original article by Michael Jackman below. Read full article at the Metro Times here »
FOR YEARS NOW, alert motorists on Detroit’s west side have been treated to an unusual sight. They have posted photos of what they’ve seen on social networking and even sent them to our office, in surprise and in puzzlement, but mostly in delight. What they have witnessed is a young rider on a Western saddle guiding his horse down West Seven Mile Road, past the gas stations and fast food restaurants, a sight that seems so out of place in the car-centric Motor City as to be remarkable.
Late this summer, the horseman finally calls and invites us to watch him ride. On a recent morning, we drive over to a house near the intersection of West Seven Mile Road and the Lodge Freeway. There we finally connect with 21-year-old Speed Miller, the “Greenfield Gaucho” we’d seen photographed so widely. He speaks with us while he carefully guides his 12-year-old Tennessee walking horse named Frisk out of a stock trailer, carefully grooming the animal, which eyes us contentedly.
Miller credits his love of horses to his grandfather, the elderly man who watches from the porch for a moment before allowing his grandson to handle the reporter and photographer. The elder has owned a 44-acre farm outside of Belleville for generations, and that’s where the young rider began his love affair with horses. That fascination began with his mother, who found encouragement from Miller’s grandfather when she climbed into the saddle decades ago.
“I was there all the time,” Miller says. “I was raised by my mom, but I spent every day with my grandad. My mom was always at work, so I’d be chilling with my grandad. I guess you could say that I was raised by both in a sense. I think me and my grandad are a little bit closer though, ’cause I spent most of my days with him. He taught me pretty much everything I know about these horses.”
[ ] when Miller began riding in the city and saw how young Detroiters connected with the animals, he realized he could offer them the same joy he found in horses.
“The kids were actually fascinated,” he says, “so I started bringing them out more, letting the kids touch them. Then, as I got more comfortable with the horse, I started putting the kids on the horse, just showing them a little something different. So I bring them down about twice a week. It’s kind of like a learning experience for both the children and the horse, in my eyes.”
‘When I get on the horse, everything else really don’t matter. I can ride down these streets in the toughest neighborhood. It really just don’t matter when I’m on the horse.’
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This puts us in mind of the Sir Winston Churchill quote:
‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’