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Horses and College

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  • Horses and College

    How many people owned horses in college? I am a sophomore in college and work at a farm for my job....but I really want a horse of my own. How many people owned a horse(s) in college? I spend all my time at the barn or with my boyfriend. I'm on the IHSA team as well but I would like to do more shows this summer. I'm not really into partying as much as other colllege students and really just want to spend all my time at the barn. I also have straight "A's" but lots of free time! What gives?!? I've owned horses all my life and I feel naked without one, haha! Anyway tell me the pros and cons, etc, etc. I used to have 4 horses at my house and show a lot but now I don't..... . It's weird and I feel like I'm missing something! I would work off my board and still get paid enough to afford everything. My parents would pay for show fees (just local stuff).

  • #2
    You might get some good responses here, but there have been MANY threads on this very topic. I'd suggest doing a search on your query, I think you'll find a lot of good information.


    • Original Poster

      oh i know i was just thinking for my particular situation already being in college and such. The good thing is that I wouldn't need a truck or trailer because my trainer (also my IHSA trainer) goes to all the local and rated shows in our area. that would save a lot of money! I'll do some searches though


      • #4
        If you have someone else funding the horse then all means get a horse. But as a current college student working 24/7 and pinching pennies to meet my horse's minimum needs then I wouldn't recommend it.
        “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

        !! is the new .


        • #5
          Well, you know what owning a horse is like. You know what college is like. Put them together. Look at your current schedule and block out your study time. Then add in your hours working at the barn, with commute. How much is left for riding time? Are you ok with that amount? Are you ok with the amount of "leftover time" for friends/boyfriend? Will you be able to save some money as well pay for the horse? You may need some money in savings for emergency fees AND for after graduation, if you can't find a job immediately. Also look at your major and talk to some upperclassmen in that major-does the work get harder in the upper level classes? Can you keep a "barn friendly" schedule for the next two years?

          The friends of mine who've kept their horses through college all had horses that didn't need to be ridden every day. Are you ok with that? I don't know what your budget is for the horse in the first place, but if you're looking at project horses, keep in mind you may not have the time to be super consistent in their training.

          Have you considered leasing/half leasing? It might increase your riding hours, while allowing you some more flexibility in timing and finances.
          "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

          Phoenix Animal Rescue


          • #6
            I brought my horses to school sophomore and junior years. I also did IHSA. I didnt find it to be a problem at all. Horses were on stall board, so they were fed, watered etc etc if I couldnt make it out. I generally did some of my IHSA lessons on my guys, sometimes on others. Sometimes I would take a lesson with a different trainer on my guy, then an IHSA lesson with the coach on a schoolie.

            I thought it was easy? The hard part would be financial...however if you can work off board and costs, thats great!
            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


            • #7
              I had my horse with my all four years of college. The first semester of my freshman year, Indy was located about 5 miles off campus at a local barn and I made it out there everyday with a heavy class load. I also worked at the barn on campus to try and cover my expenses. It was a bit tight but I enjoyed the work and wouldnt have it any other way. The second semester a spot opened up on campus and Indy lived there the rest of my four years. I still worked at the barn, luckily I worked the evening shifts where he was boarded, so I really got to take care of him myself. I showed and took lessons twice a week with a full class schedule and I never found any problem with it. I will admit I was lucky that if one week was bad and I could get out there to ride him the 4-5 times a week he was still a good boy for my lessons.

              I loved having a horse at school and I'm not sure I could have done it without him. It was a great stress reliever to be able to leave the college work behind and think of nothing but being with my horse!

              Good luck!! Hopefully you will find the right solution for you!
              Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
              Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
              Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
              Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


              • #8
                I owned a horse for most of college. My dad paid board, but the rest was up to me (lessons, tack, shows, etc.) It was by no means a glamorous time for the horse and I, but it was important to me and I definitely made it work. However, I have to say that when I sold my mare at the end of my junior year, I felt a little "free" from it - I could go on vacations without worry, get involved in other clubs (still did IHSA), work more hours and study more. College IS about having NEW experiences, so if you have any inclination to explore other activities, now is the time to do it. I spent my life until college pretty much devoted to my horses and appreciated getting a chance to try some other stuff out. Don't worry, you'll fall right back in after you graduate - I know I did.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
                  I brought my horses to school sophomore and junior years. I also did IHSA. I didnt find it to be a problem at all. Horses were on stall board, so they were fed, watered etc etc if I couldnt make it out. I generally did some of my IHSA lessons on my guys, sometimes on others. Sometimes I would take a lesson with a different trainer on my guy, then an IHSA lesson with the coach on a schoolie.

                  I thought it was easy? The hard part would be financial...however if you can work off board and costs, thats great!
                  this! I know five people on my team who have their own horses and this is how it works out for them. Also, they allow their horses to be used in IHSA so other riders take lessons on them and bring them to shows. We even have riders who brought there horses and allow the open riders to school him and fix certain behaviors.

                  Honestly if the finances work out, I would think the biggest hurdle would be what to do with the horse when you graduate.


                  • #10
                    Two of my favorite things! Horses and college!

                    I have had two horses throughout college (I'm a third year). I do IHSA (but my school's commitment to IHSA is very minimal), try to show my horses about once a month (sometimes more), am an Undergraduate Research Assistant and the House Manager for my sorority. I ride 3 days a week (usually Tuesday, Saturday, and Friday and/or Sunday); more when there's a show. I'm lucky because my school is pretty close to a lot of show facilities (LAEC, the Oaks), and about 35 minutes away from my barn. I could not imagine my life without horses, and I'm lucky because my parents are still willing to fund them, so that's something that I don't have to worry about. However, horses are not the only thing in my life, so if I'm super stressed about school/everything else going on, I call my mom (mom's my trainer) and tell her I can't ride for the day (this only happens once or twice a quarter).

                    Horses do sometimes limit the amount of time I can spend doing sorority activities, and they limit the amount of time I have to go to UCLA's sporting events, which causes me to sometimes feel like I'm "missing out," but I've managed to be more involved in school than a lot of people while still owning horses. I love horses, and definitely would not be enjoying college as much if they were not a part of my life.

                    Also, my opinion: If you're getting straight A's in college and have lots of free time, you are definitely not "maximizing" your college experience. Spend that time doing other things you love...like owning a horse!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
                      I brought my horses to school sophomore and junior years. I also did IHSA. I didnt find it to be a problem at all. Horses were on stall board, so they were fed, watered etc etc if I couldnt make it out. I generally did some of my IHSA lessons on my guys, sometimes on others. Sometimes I would take a lesson with a different trainer on my guy, then an IHSA lesson with the coach on a schoolie.

                      I thought it was easy? The hard part would be financial...however if you can work off board and costs, thats great!
                      Same here. I have my horse at school, it's no problem at all. I get out six days a week every week, ride for my school's team at a different barn, and get good grades. I show reguarly with my horse and the team. However, my parents pay for my horse. If I had to finance it myself, it would be very hard to do.


                      • #12
                        Totally know what you mean about feeling naked without a horse!! I feel like college changes up everyones riding situation which kinda sucks and most people (including myself) on my ISHA team had to sell their horses right before college.

                        If you've got good grades and your parents will foot some of the bill, why not get a horse?! I'm going into my senior year now and plan on getting a horse too. What I'm doing, and my advice to you, is to enroll in more 3 hour classes if you can. Since those classes are only once a week you'll have less in-class time and more time to work at the barn/ride/get schoolwork done on your own schedule.

                        Good luck!!
                        Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.
                        -Post Secret


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lauraware View Post
                          Also, my opinion: If you're getting straight A's in college and have lots of free time, you are definitely not "maximizing" your college experience. Spend that time doing other things you love...like owning a horse!
                          My suggestion would actually be different.

                          College is a time where you have access to activities and opportunities that you will never have again. It depends on your field, but it's a great chance to work for a professor, to look for internships, and do other programs that will get you experience that will make you more employable and give you more flexibility when you are out in the world and paying for your housing and your horses on your own thin dimes.

                          Consider enrolling in another class, even if it's just a fun class.

                          When you finish school, your new job may not give you time and money for a horse at first, so that needs to be part of your thoughts too.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                          • #14
                            I'm in my third year of college, and just bought my first horse at the end of January. I took freshman year to really immerse myself in school, this past fall I studied abroad, and I'm a good student and active member of my sorority. My parents were never very financially supportive of my riding, so I'm no stranger to working for what I want. I decided I wanted a horse, so I spent most of what I still had saved after my semester abroad and have found several jobs that support my horse. I'm responsible for all of her bills.

                            My mare is an "investment" (as much as any horse can be) that I will sell either this fall or next spring, and that money will go towards the move I'm planning to make abroad after I graduate. I work about 20-25 hours a week, have a full course load, and am actively involved in my sorority, other organizations on campus, and the school social life. I also ride 4-5 horses a day most days. I wake up early and am productive most of the day. I have an amazing barn owner/vet/farrier team, and feel very lucky to be in the position I am in. I say if you have the means and the drive, anything is possible.


                            • #15
                              I got my horse at the beginning of my sophomore year. I'm a senior now. I had no intention of getting a horse until I had graduated and saved some money, but he was a rescue. I was going to rehab him and find him a good home, but he has soundness issues that limit his abilities, and he's not quiet enough to be a beginner's flatwork/trail horse so he's not going anywhere. I adore him, but it really limits me. I work off his board, my parents can't afford to help me at all. I can't afford to lesson or show. Between working at the barn, doing school work, and commuting to school I don't even really have time to ride him, and I don't have time or money to go out and have fun.

                              I don't know, in my experience I think I would have had more fun lessoning/leasing/showing and having some money in the bank to play with. Where I board there's 2 or 3 other college students whose parents pay for the expenses and having a horse is not an issue. If money weren't an issue I'd feel differently, so I guess that's what it comes down to.


                              • Original Poster

                                I was thinking the same thoughts as some posted above. Afte college I want to go to grad school and after that it's time for the "real" world. I feel like now is the time to own a horse and take advantage of the situation. During grad school my horse will stay at my aunt's farm or just stay and be used for the IHSA team i'm thinking. There are many things I want to do but one of them is owning a horse and showing!! I have a great opportunity to do some rated shows as well (which I have never done before). I'm pretty used to working hard in school and the barn. frankly, this is what I love and I can't stop thinking about it!!!!! I would be working 5 days a week at the barn (night feeding) and one day a week at my mom's store. Between this I would have enough money for board, an extra lesson (on top of my already prepaid IHSA team lessons), and pocket cash. Plus, my boyfriend is moving in with me and my roommates so that is also a big help on payments. What my parents save on utilites they said I could use for vet and farrier bills. Is this just me, or is it fate? Plus, I have the opportunity to free lease a horse and then my parents would buy her for me after I graduate.


                                • Original Poster

                                  forgot to mention I wouldn't have to buy ANYTHING since I saved all my stuff from my previous horses. I would only need to buy a saddle. Until then I can use one of the MANY saddles my trainers has. Also have over 1000$ saved up and by the end of the summer it will be over 2k. My gut is telling me to DO IT!!


                                  • #18
                                    Go for the free lease, that would be a good compromise.

                                    I had 4 horses during college, 1 competition horse and 3 horses I could use for lessons. I went to school 3 days a week and ran a small up-down lesson and training barn the other 4 days a week to pay for college. My horses paid for themselves but I worked my butt off, 16 hour days every day. I sometimes missed class to take clients to shows.

                                    My parents had a farm that I could use for training, but they could not afford to pay for college. In a way they paid for my college by providing a platform I could use to earn money to pay for my own college, but it was a lot of work and not the easy way to go about it.

                                    I did have a good scholarship so that helped a lot. I had a 4.0, graduated at the top of my class and got into a top law school. But I never partied or did much else beyond the barn and classes.

                                    There are sacrifices. I only had 2 friends from college at my wedding, and now I've lost touch with even them. But I am still close with many of my riding students even though I haven't taught a lesson or done a training ride or anything that would come close to violating the ammy rule in 7 years.

                                    You have to decide what is important to you and go for it. I have no regrets about my college experience. In many ways law school was my college, I took one horse and rode 6 days a week but nothing like the time I spent doing horses in undergrad. I have tons of law school friends and went to all the parties, etc. then. I was never much of a partier but it is easy to talk to people when you are all dorks.


                                    • #19
                                      I'm a freshman in college. I'm also on a NCAA Division I athletic team.. Rowing team, not equestrian team ... Like you, I am also I straight A student. I have two horses that I drive 50 minutes almost everyday to ride. I also don't party ever aha..

                                      I would say that the biggest con for me is time. I have practice 4 hours almost every day. 2 hours starting at 5:30 am and then again at 4 pm.. The hardest thing for me is fitting driving out there in my schedule and still get my homework done in time to go to bed. The only other con really is that I get upset sometimes that I'm not horse showing, like I'm putting all this effort into my horses, but I don't get to go to shows anymore during the year.

                                      Honestly though, I wouldn't ever get rid of my horses. They are an amazing stress reliever and are always there when I need them.

                                      The only thing I would think about is if there is someone to ride your horse for you when things get busy (ie lots of test one week etc). My trainer rides my horses for me when I can't, so I'm never stressed about them sitting in their stalls.


                                      • #20
                                        I'm a sophomore in college, and just brought my horse here in January. He was at a trainer's barn in Jersey to get trained and sold, but when he wasn't getting sold my parents decided that it would be cheaper to bring him to school with my (about a third of the price here at school than at the Jersey barn...1/2 the price of barns at home). I ride as often as possible...which is anywhere from 4-7 days a week. I'm also in a sorority, but that doesn't take up too much time. Unfortunately I can't really show up at school because there's none near by. I am very very lucky though that my parents are so supportive of my riding, so I don't have any financial responsibilities for the horses....for now. But it's so great to be able to go to the barn when my quadmates are driving me crazy, and no matter how stressed or a terrible day I've had, seeing and riding him just makes my day so much better