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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2012
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    New York
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    Default Riding in College?

    So the college process is just starting up for me as a rising senior, and that means a lot of big changes in my riding schedule. I don't think I want to do IHSA although that might change once I get to school but I have a two fold question.
    1) did you ride in college/ tell me about your experiences (please)
    and
    2) since I'm relocating are there any AMAZING trainers within 20 minutes or so of liberal arts colleges, if so who? I know its a bad idea to pick a college based on riding but I may as while go and see if I like the school and the trainer

    Any other college riding tips?
    My Horse Show Photography/ Blog



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
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    2,154

    Default

    What worked best for me was my parents wouldn't let me bring my horse(s) out to college (1000 miles away from home) for my first year. For subsequent years, I could bring them out only if I assumed all cost of care (boarding, vet, etc; within reason, they'd still help pay for emergencies if I needed it).
    That was the best scenario I could imagine. While I missed them the first year, it freed me up to study and get the hang of college, especially living away from home, and make new friends. Then, I rapidly learned the responsibility of paying for those beasts and how it was a privilege, not a right given to me by my parents. I brought them out and boarded at a nearby barn, rode, and showed on the local circuit all through my remaining 3 years. Never did IHSA; no time to do it with having my own horses.

    And IMO, you can find amazing trainers anywhere, if you look hard enough. I've found great trainers around all 4 universities that I have been associated with, in 4 separate states.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2005
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    Where it is perpetually winter
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    Default

    I did IHSA during my freshman year and wish I could have continued to do it (2 major joint surgeries within a year of each other meant that I was out for too much of the season to do it). I think it's a super fun experience and I wouldn't discount it if you don't know much about it. I plan to do it in the alumni division when I have a little more time and money.

    I also rode for 2 trainers during my freshman year, so I got a lot of saddle time. At the beginning of that year, I had no way to get to the barn and so didn't ride for about a month, and I was miserable... I had to ride to be happy when I had that much open time but not any way to get to the barn. I had to back down to 1 after that year because I didn't have the time to make it out to 2 barns every day. My mare did not come to school with me until the first semester of my senior year. I loved having her out at school with me and I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad I did not bring her out sooner - I would not have had the time to get out and work her as often as a horse doing what she does needs to work. She only stayed out here for one semester and then went back home; I was going to be taking an excessive amount of credits (21) and TAing a course, so there was no way I would have the time. I get out to ride when I can now, but it's not anywhere near as often as I would like it to be.

    Your second question is really too general to be able to answer. What colleges are you looking at?

    Edited to add: I "do it all" in the sense of maintaining my grades while taking heavy course loads, getting enough sleep, and having the [small] social life that I want in addition to riding (with the exception of this semester, where I only manage the first 2), but it takes a lot of scheduling.
    Last edited by supershorty628; May. 9, 2013 at 09:14 AM.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2004
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    Ct
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    Default

    My DD did not take a horse to school with her first semester which was the best decision we could have made. It gave her the opportunity to experience being a college student and trying things that she never had time for before. She did take a horse spring semester freshman year and fall semester of sophomore year, and while she liked it, it was hard to balance schoolwork, social activities, IHSA practices and the needs of a green horse. So it was a bit of a relief when the horse went back in the winter.

    I wouldn't discount IHSA - it can be a great experience if you go into it with the right mindset! You can learn a lot about riding all types of horses (some super nice and some not, but it's all part of being a horseman) and learn about being a part of a team, which for some is a completely new experience. The competition can be fierce in some of the regions but the comradery, as well as the competition, make it really enjoyable.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2012
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    New York
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    306

    Default

    I have to sell my guy before I go to school so that's not even factoring into my equation.
    Right now I'm looking at Haverford, Oberlin, Kenyon, Davidson, University of Wisconsin but honestly I'm totally clueless as to where I'm going to go or what I'm really looking for I think I might also be interested in somewhere near Boston but I don't know where to look at all
    My Horse Show Photography/ Blog



  6. #6
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    Feb. 15, 2013
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    Louisiana
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    75

    Default

    I didn't ride for the first year of college, but then I found the equestrian team. I had ridden saddleseat my whole life do I didn't sart jumping until college. It helped a lot with not having horse expenses and was a blast.

    Side note, despite telling them I'd been riding since I was 4, they were all shocked that I knew my leads and my diagonals. Apparently they didnt think we did much actual riding in saddleseat land lol.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 2, 2003
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    4,613

    Default

    I took lessons through college-- Did not do IHSA because I went to a school that was large enough that I was realistic about my prospects of actually being ridden at shows, and I was a double science major.

    I didn't bring a horse and I'm glad I didn't.



  8. #8
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    Default

    I commuted from home to college as folks could not afford to send me, I carried a lesser load and took longer to get thru working 2 part time jobs that evolved into one 35 hour a week gig.

    I rode my own horse for the first few years, kept showing open. Rode for a year with the schools Arab program breaking a colt or two but dropped that after a year in favor of my own. I was in line for a school team slot (before IHSA was developed) but they changed to rewarding those with alumni parents who made hefty donations, those with major Arab breed show results and the results of a special show on either school or personal horses instead of the points for work based system in place for 20 years or so. I pinned very high on personal QH at that show and was well above the previous point requirement but lacked the other two so got left in the dust. Even with the more consistent IHSA, a mistake to assume anything including liking or even making the program.

    I switched to competing on the Speech team and did some special projects in my minor (Anthropology) and continued with my own horse.

    You can make it work IF you are careful with time.

    BUT, when I hit the final year, I found meeting the upper classwork load to graduate plus a the job did not leave me enough time so I leased the horse out (and got smacked with a surprise 2k board bill in 1974 when that person vanished and abandoned the horse).

    After graduating, I did not bring in enough money to have a horse and support myself so let the horse go. Was out for about 8 years due to career building and finances, but I came back full force.

    Going off to college is kind of a crossroads as far as horse ownership is concerned. Depends on your circumstances, especially finances. And there will be some surprises.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2013
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    134

    Default

    I rode on an NCAA team, it was fun, but a big commitment. I have tons of friends who did IHSA, and 99% of them really enjoyed it.
    I would plan on not riding for at least the first semester, I know I was really homesick, and if I had had a barn to go to I would have been there 24/7, not making friends and enjoying college!
    You'll be able to find a decent trainer almost anywhere. What I've learned from moving around a lot is that you may not find the most awesome, out of this world amazing trainer everywhere, but as long as you find a place that takes good care of the horses you should be set!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2013
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    Where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains
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    Default

    I rode for an IHSA team that transistioned to NCAA only during my senior year. I was horseless when I went to college after a greenie didn't pan out and was sold my junior year of High School.

    Since we only practiced twice a week when the team was still IHSA (60 girls - only 40 horses) I worked my arse off the summer between freshman and sophmore year and bought an OTTB to bring back to school with me (turns out I'm a pretty crappy rider if I only ride twice a week). I was fortunate to be in school in an area with a low cost of living, so I was able to afford my project by doing self-care and having a part-time job. However, since I had a difficult science major, a part-time job, and team obligations I often didn't have time to ride my project consistently. I let two other girls from the team ride her for me on days I had to work. I did get to ride a little bit more often this way. I had also really missed having a bond with a particular horse. I eventually had enough time/money to show my OTTB locally with sucess my senior year of college.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    14,888

    Default

    The lecture to the whippersnapper first:

    OP, picking a college and committing to going to college not just having something to do in between rides is a big deal.

    Almost all of us need to pick schools with these criteria, more or less in this order:

    1. The right school for you.
    2. What you guys can afford. IMO, that means the student who borrows actually reads the fine-print on the loans and "gets it."
    7. The horse factor.

    I went to schools of just about equal quality for undergrad and grad, but one was in cosmopolitan CA and one was in rural NY.

    You'll find more trainers who know a lot but might not need your help in a big mecca. In the smaller mecca, you might find trainers who love how well you ride. That's good, but as often as not, their business will be too small to need a rider. And most businesses that have extra riding opportunities need to give those to junior (paying) clients first.

    One thing I really liked about Little Town, NY was the much lower cost of living. Everything from my rent to board to a set of shoes was lower. Also, commuting to the barn was not an ordeal. If you go to, say, Harvard or UCLA, the time spent even leaving campus to get to the barn will be a major detraction. As an undergrad, I was sure I was missing something cool when I left to go ride. Also, in a Little Town, if you run out of catch-riding opportunities, it makes leasing or half-leasing a little more imaginable since board isn't so high.

    I hope you find the right school. IME, it's well worth the effort to spend a lot of time researching colleges. It's expensive and will do a lot to shape you in your adult life. It's also one of the rare times in life that you get a huge say in where you live, how you "work" and what you'll do next. What a privilege! Enjoy it.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2008
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    Area IV
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    Default

    I am currently finishing up my freshman year at college, so I hope I can help!

    While I own a horse, she is not with me at school. I am about 1000 miles from home and we decided shipping her out here would be too much to deal with my first semester.

    I am a member of my schools IDA(Intercollegiate Dressage) team and I LOVE it! We ride twice a week and have a handful of shows every semester. It is the perfect amount of barn time for me right now. I am a double major and am taking a heavy course load(maxed out 19 credits). So this way I get to have my barn time, make horsey friends, but I still have time to do my school work and have other friends.

    Over breaks I got to go home and see my horse which was nice. While I am having a fantastic time at school, I do miss having daily barn time. It really sucks going back to school and leaving my horse behind when break ends. But I have to admit there is certain freedom in not having my horse here with me. I am really close to Boston and it is awesome to just decided to go on a weekend trip into the city with my friends without having to worry about my horse. Plus there is no pressure for me to make it out to the barn everyday. So that means I have time to hang out with friends. College really is all about being social, meeting new people, trying new things. It is fantastically awesome, I promise!

    Funny enough, I ended up picking my college because of the trainer. I met him at a horse thing and loved his teaching style, so I decided to go check out the school he taught at. From the moment I arrived on campus, I knew it was the school for me! The trainer I originally met doesn't work here any more, but the trainer I am currently riding with is even better! I have to admit, college has worked out pretty perfectly so far!

    So I guess I'm saying, that college is fantastic, give IDA or IHSA a chance because they're awesome and you'll meet some amazing people, and don't choose a school JUST for horses, but sometimes things have a funny way of working out.

    Sorry this was so long, hope it helps. Feel free to message me if you have more questions!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2010
    Posts
    214

    Default

    I echo the replies not to choose a school based on riding- there will be horses everywhere you go and you have the rest of your life to ride. College only lasts four years, as a recent graduate I will tell you it goes by fast! With that being said I was still able to ride through out college, I found a great barn and half-leased. Having a horse three days a week worked perfectly for my schedule and if I had a busy week I didn't feel like I needed to rush out to the barn to squeeze in a ride.

    I was able to ride pretty consistently and showed a little bit too, but on top of that I was involved in my sorority, got good grades and had a social life. It is great to have horses in college but don't miss out on the other parts too!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default

    I wasn't allowed to take my horse with me and he went up for sale as a means to pay for college. I am so thankful that I had those four years to focus on school, friends, and activities outside of the horse world. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the sport and a much needed break after living and breathing horses for the prior 5 or 6 years (I was my trainer's assistant and helper rider which meant I rode day in and day out and showed all of the horses for him in addition to mine). I've been going full force ever since graduation, and I think that's in part because of the break I took.

    I always suggest to college-bound kids that they take some time to really experience college before hopping back on a horse. That might mean waiting a year to bring the horse out and it might mean taking 4 years off (or somewhere in between), but there are a million activities in college and I am glad that I participated in a many as I could and didn't do what I had always done....walling myself off in the horse world. With that being said, I wholeheartedly support and recommend IHSA and have had several helpers go through it now and rave about the team bonding and fun involved. Like mepkkg, I also did the sorority thing and had a blast, in addition to sports I hadn't ever done before like flag football. And the end result of that was a network of non-horse people who have helped me immensely though the years as I embarked on my career path.

    As far as picking a school based on nearby trainers? Due to the ever ready status of Murphy's Law, I don't think I would want to commit to a 4-year experience based on nearby trainers. I would visit campuses, decide which one feels the most comfortable to you, and go. Horses will be everywhere, and if you want to find or make time in a more difficult scenario, you will.

    Good luck!
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.



  15. #15
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    8,508

    Default

    Time management makes the world go round. If you are good at it, you will be able to get the full college experience and also ride a horse. I did a triple major, was a Resident Assistant, in Student Senate, co-chair of the LGBTA which became hugely active on campus and ended up with like 45 people in it and doing major campus events, tutored Latin, worked an afternoon as the classics dept secretary, worked in the post office, etc etc etc and still did up a sale horse on the side. If you want it bad, it is possible.

    As for trainer location, when I was in law school, school was in Ithaca, NY and the horses were in VA. I left campus Wednesday evenings, drove five hours, stayed through Sunday and rode rode rode my horses and my trainer's sale horses, and then drove back. I did school work at Panera Bread after the day's riding.

    There are a thousand less crazy permutations of the educational/equine experience you can have, so I cite these extreme examples to state that, if you don't want three majors and sale horses that live five hours away, probably one major and IHSA will be pretty doable.


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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2007
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    Huntington Beach, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWjumper View Post
    I wasn't allowed to take my horse with me and he went up for sale as a means to pay for college. I am so thankful that I had those four years to focus on school, friends, and activities outside of the horse world. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the sport and a much needed break after living and breathing horses for the prior 5 or 6 years (I was my trainer's assistant and helper rider which meant I rode day in and day out and showed all of the horses for him in addition to mine). I've been going full force ever since graduation, and I think that's in part because of the break I took.

    I always suggest to college-bound kids that they take some time to really experience college before hopping back on a horse. That might mean waiting a year to bring the horse out and it might mean taking 4 years off (or somewhere in between), but there are a million activities in college and I am glad that I participated in a many as I could and didn't do what I had always done....walling myself off in the horse world. With that being said, I wholeheartedly support and recommend IHSA and have had several helpers go through it now and rave about the team bonding and fun involved. Like mepkkg, I also did the sorority thing and had a blast, in addition to sports I hadn't ever done before like flag football. And the end result of that was a network of non-horse people who have helped me immensely though the years as I embarked on my career path.

    As far as picking a school based on nearby trainers? Due to the ever ready status of Murphy's Law, I don't think I would want to commit to a 4-year experience based on nearby trainers. I would visit campuses, decide which one feels the most comfortable to you, and go. Horses will be everywhere, and if you want to find or make time in a more difficult scenario, you will.

    Good luck!
    Good advice. My daughter rides NCAA and she is busy enough without having to deal with her own horse. Education needs to be your primary focus.



  17. #17
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    Feb. 6, 2007
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    I worked 32 hours a week, leased a horse, free rode a few times a week, took lessons, showed and still managed to keep my GPA at about a 3.4. It totally doable.



  18. #18
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    Feb. 19, 2013
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    Alabama
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    683

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    I went to Murray State University in KY, I picked that school because of the horse program and I wasn't an equine science major. I had a horse at school all 4 years, thought about riding IHSA and rode with the team in practice but never did the shows. I did allow the use of my horse for the shows and practice though. I was lucky enough to get a stall on campus and had to provide my own care and feed. I'll say that kept me out of trouble since it was tough to wake up at 6am to go feed after I'd been out partying the night before... They also had plenty of school horses that they would let select students ride outside of class, it was nice for those that didn't have a horse at school. MSU is a smaller school, I worked part time on a dairy/poultry farm, took an average of 16-18 hours, picked up an extra minor, took care of my horse and competed, and kept up my GPA with ease.

    I've found that if the school has an established equestrian program there tend to be plenty of trainers close to the school as there are always a steady stream of new clients coming in.



  19. #19
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    Apr. 2, 2011
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    Westchester, NY
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    Joining the IHSA team at my school (SUNY Geneseo) was probably the single best choice I have made in the past four years. All of my close friends at school besides my roommate are from the team and as a graduating senior the idea of leaving the team was leaving many of us in tears at our last horse show. To give you some idea of how much it means to use, many team members (myself included) have ended up staying in Geneseo and riding over the summers with our trainer.

    That said, it is my specific coach and team members that makes it so amazing. I know every team is difference and not every team is like mine. Part of it, honestly, is that we are a SUNY school in the hardest region and zone in the country. We do very well and host a bunch of shows but there is less pressure on us than other schools which makes it more fun. The barn is smaller and quieter and more like a family...very different from the big bustling show barns I was used to.

    While I personally think there is no reason not to keep riding in college (trust me, finals week is right now and the idea of riding is the only thing keeping me sane) it was nice to do it in a less pressured environment.

    In comparable colleges in terms of education and price I don't think its the worst thing to take their riding team (IHSA or otherwise) in to consideration since that is the only team for that school, plus athletes make choices based on athletic all the time. However there are likely multiple barns in an area so I think it is somewhat shortsighted to make a decision based on a private facility.
    Currently blogging for Chronicle of the Horse. Articles can be found here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/category...ryan-lefkowitz



  20. #20
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    Aug. 7, 2004
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    I rode through college and I went to a liberal arts college. In my first semester of college my parents sold my horse without telling me for over a month, so I was not in a good place for almost all of my freshman year... When I got a warning that if I missed another class, none of my semester credits would count and I'd have to redo everything, I started try to find anywhere I could ride. And I rode anything and everything for about eight months. By my sophomore year, I found a really good, honest trainer who very miraculously had a perfect ammie friendly mare who I showed in the adult ams. She was pretty much my life line in school. I was torn up when I had to leave her to move on with my life.

    What I figured out, and what I don't think a lot of high schoolers understand, is that when you have to get to college, your life is a lot less structured. You are in charge of organizing and prioritizing free time, meal times, school, social time, etc. For me, while I was social when the opportunity presented itself and was convenient in my schedule, I eliminated a lot of social and free time in favor of being out at the barn. I never went out Friday nights; I usually rode in the mornings during the week. My barn was 45 minutes away from school, so it took some weekly planning. There were also weeks I had to completely skip the barn so I could get school work done.

    If you go the IHSA route, DO meet with the coaches and talk with the team members. Go see them at a show if you can and get a feel for the vibe. Each team is very, very different. As is each region, for that matter. I turned down one school's offer because I couldn't stand how much negativity (downright bitterness, actually) was present at the barn.

    In college, and in the amateur ranks, riding definitely is about having fun. If you're not having fun or finding solace away from school out at the barn, then something's not working.

    ETA I totally agree with PNW that college should be a time for a person to develop an identity outside of horses. While I won't say I am over and have totally forgiven my parents for going behind my back like they did, not having a horse for almost a year forced me to find other outlets. I joined a sorority, I was active through our sorority's philanthropy (RIF) which had a huge role in our rural community, I learned how to play soccer and became a decent(ish) player after a few years. I even ended up doing a 180 on my major. It's nice that people can identify me as a person off the horse.



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