LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tyler Harris, 12, has had his horse Sonny for four years after his mother gave it to him for Christmas. Tyler is a student at Robert Lewis Middle School, and has been riding since he was 5 years old.

The Dart: RLMS student enjoys classic mode of transport

Published 12:11am Monday, April 30, 2012

NATCHEZ — Tyler Harris doesn’t get around the neighborhood like most of the 12-year-olds in Natchez. While most of the other children choose to walk, hitch a ride or bike to their destination, Harris prefers to saddle up Sonny, hop on his back and trot to where he wants to go.

Sonny is Harris’ 7-year-old horse, and the two were getting ready for a trip down the street to grandma’s house Saturday afternoon when The Dart landed at Harris’ home on Gayosa Avenue.

Harris said his method of transportation separates him from most of his peers.

“There are a lot of young folks out there that like to be in the streets being all ghetto,” he said. “I have my own style. I ride horses.”

His love for riding started at a young age, and he started riding when he was 5 years old.

“I decided one year when I saw people riding them in a parade,” he said.

But it wasn’t until he was 8 years old that he met his four-legged friend Sonny.

It was Christmas, and his family went to celebrate at his grandmother’s house in the country. Everybody had their Christmas present at the house but Harris, and he thought he had been left out.

“I woke up and see my present wasn’t there,” he said.

When the family came back home, Harris said, he saw Sonny waiting on him.

“I got excited,” he said. “That night I got on his back. I didn’t have a saddle. I just rode him bare back.”

Harris said he and Sonny did not get along well at first.

“When I first got him he was real mean,” he said. “I just kept on riding him, and every time he’d act up I’d get on his back or tie him up on a pole until he got right. I had to let him know I’m his owner.”

It took Harris approximately a year to tame Sonny, he said. But now he has full control over his horse.

“He really just lets me ride him,” Harris said. “He doesn’t like grown people. If a child gets on his back he’s OK though.”

Harris said he spends his weekends riding Sonny. He said Saturday he started riding at 7 a.m. and was still going at 7 p.m.

“Every weekend I ride him,” he said. “I don’t have time during the day.”

Harris attends Robert Lewis Middle School and said weekday nights are for homework, games and sleep.

Harris said everyone at school knows him as the boy that rides horses, and he is comfortable with that label.

He said that patience is key when learning how to ride and care for a horse.

“You have to take your time on a horse,” he said. “You don’t just jump on back of a horse. You have to know them.”


  • Im Still Standing

    Great story !!! More kids in Natchez need to follow your lead Tyler – - and by the way, Sonny is my brothers name … Your horse (Sonny) looks beautiful !!

  • Anonymous

    betcha that saves a lot of gas.  way to go, tyler.
    we had  horse riding trails where i would get a chance to mount up when i was a bit younger.  i don’t hear of them anymore.  seems it was percy warner or edwin warner park where i rode  for the fun of it.
    hey tyler, i like your choice of words for calling things like you see them, “so ghetto” hits the nail smack dab on the head.

  • Im Still Standing

    I wanted to also say that I applaud you for blazing your own trail, son, and not following these other poor mis-guided teenagers here in Natchez !! Your parents bought you a horse for Christmas !! Lots and lots of the parents in Natchez buy their kids sagging pants and underwear to match – - For Christmas !! Just like we want to see their nasty underwear !  Walking in stores or restaurants holding onto their waistband, like they’ve never heard of the word belt….It’s truly, truly sickening and pitiful and makes me ashamed of our race sometimes !! When I see – - No, Excuse Me – - HEAR a car coming up next to me with blasting, blaring music – - No, Excuse Me – - it’s not even close to “music” – - and then when I dare to look over, I see my race of people bouncing inside, mimicking some stupid rap words that disrespect them and their “girl” in the passenger seat…oh wait, and then she’s dumb enough to have their poor, poor little baby inside – - and neither of them HAVE A CLUE as to how much damage they are doing to the little baby’s ear drums….I don’t care that much about their ear drums, because number one, it’s probably too late for their hearing health – - the damage has been done, and number two, if their parent(s) were smart on ANY level, they would have insisted they turn music down when they drive.  Many of the parents of the “ghetto”, as Tyler put it, don’t really give a damn about their kids or how they are raised…and my GOD it shows…and don’t tell me it cannot be done, because I have raised four (4) sons, and they know – - I will not tolerate pure ignorance !!!  My boys are respectful, educationally-motivated, good citizens…and three of them are teenagers still at home.  Our family “tolerates” Natchez….and, Natchez High and Robert Lewis…tolerate those schools, only because we have to at this time, but I don’t have a problem saying that those two…two “zoo’s” ….are very, very disturbing !!!  Oh, and yes, I’m sure I’ll get comments, like: …”if you don’t like Natchez, move !! “ …and my response is, oh, thank you, old educated one….we definately plan to get out of this weird little town !!

  • Anonymous


  • vilou09

    Go away.

  • vilou09

    Initiating slow clap……

    I enjoyed your comment more than you’ll ever know. I know lots of others will too !

  • Anonymous

    It is an article about a boy and a horse. How have you zoomed into the word “ghetto” and ran with it? I’m not happy with Natchez’s segregation, small southern-town mentality or public schools, but there is a time and place for everything. Why this article? It’s sad that you downed your race before the other races even got started, like they need your jumper cables.

  • Im Still Standing

    I won’t apologize for my “ghetto” comment, NEVER !!! It’s like the big elephant in the room that no one is commenting on !!! Need to get a backbone and tell the TRUTH !! Yea, truth hurts sometimes, but it needed to be said !! What r u waiting for ??? A feature article on how rediculous our young folks are looking and acting ??? I don’t think that will happen any time soon. We don’t want Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson running down here starting a lot of racial discourse !! Let them two wanna- bees stay right where theyre at !!!