Our History

Taking The Reins was founded in 1998 by two women, Judith Hopkins and Debra Avery, who recognized the extraordinary potential of an equine-based, educational program for L.A.’s most under-served urban girls. TTR’s first home was The Paddock Riding Club, an equestrian facility in Atwater Village.

Our beginnings included 5 horses and a horse stall that was converted into a classroom. In 2008, TTR made a significant move, purchasing a 2-acre facility next-door to The Paddock, adjacent to the L.A. River. Today, with a growing herd of horses TTR offers a beautiful rural setting for urban girls to enjoy a farm experience mere minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

In  2009, we began our ‘Seed to Skillet’ Urban Farming Program with the establishment of a garden that the girls maintain and grow.
Thanks to some patient horses, a dedicated Board of Directors, passionate volunteers, and deeply committed staff, Taking the Reins continues to grow. We serve more than 350 girls each year, helping them to be strong, confident and courageous.