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How did you finance riding/horses in college?

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  • How did you finance riding/horses in college?

    So I have a blog about riding in college and I was wondering if those of you who ride/rode in college would mind sharing how you were able to finance it.

    Did your parents help? Did you work off rides or lessons, or did you have a part-time job? Did you live off-campus with roommates or a significant other? Did you have working student job in exchange for board? All of the above?

    I'm hoping to get a wide variety of solutions and I'm sure this discussion will be useful to many HS and college COTHers. If I want to use your post as part of my blog, I will PM you for permission.
    The Frugal Foxhunter

  • #2
    um I didn't? My equitation horse was sold after finals, parents gave me a car in replacement and then I only rode on the IHSA team or over summer when I got a job in the barn working off the riding.


    • #3
      Im similar to mayaty. i rode NCAA at auburn and left my horse at home. tried for a year to board my horse nearby after my freshman year, but simply did not have the time to ride him enough. i worked over the summers and rode for the team.


      • #4
        Umm, I got a job?

        Throughout highschool my horses lived at home. (Although I have always been responsible for their cost, no matter what my age. First at 14.) When the college search started, I was looking at schools far away, meaning that I'd have to bring my one horse at the time along with me. After considering boarding options, I picked a college close to home, so that my horse (and me!) could live at home.

        In addition to being a full time student with a heavy and challenging courseload, I have always worked at least 20 hours a week as well. In the summer I work around 50 hours a week, between two jobs, so that allows me to save up a little bit of money. I have two horses now, and one boarder, who after all the insurance/other expenses is just enough "income" to cover grain and farrier for my two, which is nice. He's here mostly for the company. I am lucky in that I have just opened up about 6 acres for hay, so last year my hay costs were greatly reduced....although for the seven years before that, I've spent approximately $2000 a year in hay, just for my guys at home.

        I don't take a lot of lessons, and rarely show. My father is lovely in that he will offer his time (feeding dinner if I have a late class, etc) and the use of his truck to pull my trailer (which I purchased at 16 years of age, before my first car!) but cannot offer any financial assistance.

        I should also mention that I pay my own car insurance (and bought my own car), pay for my own gas, buy most of my own clothing, etc. I also picked the local school (UMass Amherst, so it's not like I "settled") because they jumped up and down waving a free-ride scholarship in the air, while the other private schools I applied to couldn't offer anything even close.

        Edit: I feel like I should also include that I picked my major/schooling path with an eye to the future. I'm an English major but specialized in technical writing which I paired with an information technology minor. Grads of my particular combination are very high in demand, jobs are plentiful, and the starting salary for a junior position starts at over $60k. That's not just hear-say either; as a senior my professors have been emailing job ads to us, and I have even been contacted by a headhunter. Not that I don't love low-budget horse keeping and mucking stalls in freezing temperatures every.single.day but I specifically geared my schooling towards careers that would allow for full board with an indoor.

        Some of my friends are philosophy/history/art history majors, and while I love them and glad they picked something that made them happy....I just don't know what they're going to do when they actually graduate. No offense to any of those above majors out there, of course.


        • #5
          My DD, a college freshman rides on her IHSA team and occasionally adds a private lesson with her coach and then she rides whatever her home trainer has available on breaks from school. At this point, I still pay and she will supplement where she can but this will probably be her second to last year riding outside of IHSA, so I'm happy to help out where I can. After next summer, she'll have a full time internship (hopefully) and then onto work after that....


          • #6
            I'm a jr/AO jumper in my second year of college. I did well in the scholarship department so my parents were still willing to keep paying for a good portion of my horse's expenses and I'm very grateful. I've had to sacrifice some shows because of lack of finances and time, but most of the shows I do are over the summer when I obviously have a lot more time to ride and work! Plus winning money helps I also clean stalls for my trainer on weekends and have a job at a local restaurant a night or two a week.

            Its definitely tough to manage between money and time, and sacrifices have to be made, but I could never imagine it any other way. I would scrub toilets to keep my horse I would say I'm getting through college because of him, not im spite of. I think the work ethic I've learned through being a competitive rider and always working hard to help pay for it is a very valuable lesson.


            • #7
              I didn't have to. I go to SUNY Geneseo, and if you make the team everything is paid for. Lessons, shows, entries, transportation, hotels...we are even given food allowances for horse show weekends.

              As far as general riding equipment, either my mother pays for it or I do. It depends on how dire it it. She paid for a new helmet when I broke mine in a fall, I payed for a new pair of tall boots with money from waitressing.

              Maybe some others can way in, but how out of the ordinary is it to have your expenses covered? I know clubs have to self-finance, but I always thought my set up was pretty typical for a varsity team.

              ETA: I have also gone fox-hunting and showed outside IHSA with my coach's horses, that I pay for myself (not my mother.)


              • #8
                I am in my first year of university and live about two hours away from home with my horse boarded nearby.

                I live on campus and have the most basic meal plan possible. I don't eat out, which many people do two-three times a week, which is a big cost saver. I bought all of my textbooks used (even if they were an older edition, I made them work) and saved the difference. I buy shampoo, toothpaste and the like in bulk. I haven't bought a new shirt since September and haven't seen a movie since July. I downgraded my cell plan to the most basic one possible (considered getting rid of it all together but decided first year away from home, driving on windy country roads to a new barn, etc. it was probably a good idea to keep it for now, but don't have data, unlimited texting, caller idea and all of the 'extras'). There is a gas station in town that has weekly 'cheap days' that I am always careful to frequent. I don't have cable in my room and have a designated time for my parents to call me so that I am not paying for long-distance. I discontinued my magazine subscriptions and did my Christmas shopping at local farmer's markets, craft fairs and discount stores to get really nice things at less expensive prices. I roll all my spare change and changed to a student bank account to avoid unnecessary fees. I guess what I'm getting at is that I am very careful to watch my money. $20 here and there on odds and ends could be saved for lessons, farrier visits, emergency vet calls and supplements.

                I don't have a job while at school this year but worked full time last summer, part-time in high school and plan on full time again this summer. I've applied for a handful of on-campus part time jobs for next year, about 8-12 hours a week. I would like to have a bit more money than I currently do and be able to save some for after school is over.

                As far as the darling horse goes, my parents pay board ($400 a month for an older, smaller facility but nevertheless great care, people and instructor. Also is in the middle of nowhere so cheap!) but everything else is on me, and that is the way it has been since I was sixteen. I think this is completely fair and has definitely taught me financial prioritizing. I don't think horse shows are going to be in the cards for the next few years, but I do weekly lessons with a great coach. While I don't consistently work at my barn, I've filled in a handful of days when the regular girls were sick or busy or away. This has given me a nice surplus of lesson credits that should get me through until the end of March as it is right now, and I'm working two days next weekend.

                Working here and there, watching my money and having my savings from years of planning is definitely helpful, but what really makes having a horse at school possible is my scholarships. I worked very hard in high school and continue to be a slave to my homework to maintain my grades and money. It is not a big scholarship but enough that I was able to have about $10 000 extra dollars a year than those paying full tuition. By being very careful with my money, giving up showing and a fancy 'A' circuit barn for a comfortable 'B'-style one and trading the occasional lesson for work, it all works out.

                I plan on moving off campus next year and not having to pay as much for meal plans and residence fees. This, coupled with a full-time job, may make it possible to horse show at a selected few shows, on a budget, in 2013. But we'll see. I like going out once in awhile, miss movies dearly and would love to do a volunteer abroad trip at some point while in school. I love my horse and want to keep him and it seems to be working, but I don't like shows enough to be really sad about giving them up. Its hard to do it all, but not impossible.


                • #9
                  I paid for all of my own IHSA lesson and show fees. My parents paid tuition and living expenses during college. During the school year I worked in labs, which would only pay if you qualified for work-study, and I didn't. But my boss would pay me for the summer field season, which was in the middle of nowhere. So I'd earn money and usually not spend anything all summer. Senior year I managed to get a fellowship for my research, so I got a little extra money.

                  I also usually didn't lesson during the summer because there weren't any good trainers around and my schedule was ridiculous. I did manage to find a free lease for one of the summers though, so I at least got some horse time. Of course, all summer toodling around someone's backyard with no lessons did nothing for my equitation, and I paid for it in September.
                  "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                  Phoenix Animal Rescue


                  • #10
                    The only reason I am still able to have my horse, ride, and occasionally show is my parents. I am very lucky to have their support. There is no way I would be able to have a horse/show without their help. They pay for pretty much everything but I am responsible for additional lessons, extra tack, etc. and things that I want versus need.

                    I have a pretty sweet scholarship but I am still very much dependent on my parents.

                    I don't show at rated shows and I don't ride with a BNT. If you want to know anything else just let me know but as I am not really financially responsible for my horse I am not sure how much of a help I can be.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rel6 View Post

                      Maybe some others can way in, but how out of the ordinary is it to have your expenses covered? I know clubs have to self-finance, but I always thought my set up was pretty typical for a varsity team.
                      I think it's typical for a varsity team to have everything covered.

                      I ride on a varsity team and the school pays for everything - transportation to shows, entries, IHSA fees, lessons, USHJA membership fees for anyone who doesn't have it, hotels when we stay overnight, flights to Nationals (for competing riders/coaches), and food at all shows (for all riders, whether they're competing at that particular show or not).

                      I also have my own horse supported financially by my parents.


                      • #12
                        My DD's team is Varsity and all her team expenses are covered, however when she takes an additional lesson, that is my expense


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by collegialequestrian View Post
                          So I have a blog about riding in college and I was wondering if those of you who ride/rode in college would mind sharing how you were able to finance it.

                          Did your parents help? Did you work off rides or lessons, or did you have a part-time job? Did you live off-campus with roommates or a significant other? Did you have working student job in exchange for board? All of the above?

                          I'm hoping to get a wide variety of solutions and I'm sure this discussion will be useful to many HS and college COTHers. If I want to use your post as part of my blog, I will PM you for permission.
                          After freshman year, I worked as a waitress in the summer and saved all of my money. I worked as an RA for the next three years which paid decently and I also did work-stody in an office on-campus. I bought a cheap young horse that wouldn't be ready to show or do anything too exciting for a while. I kept her at a partial self-care and only did schooling shows. It worked out pretty well since I still have that horse 9 years later I found that riding also kept me more organized and provided a nice escape from being on-campus all of the time.


                          • #14
                            Our college funded at least some of the expenses since a union fee was built into tuition. They funded gas and hotels/entry fees for shows. They also funded part of our lessons, the remainder was charged to our student accounts. I think my parents ended up paying it since it was charged to the student account which rolled into the tuition.

                            When I got my horse before senior year, I half leased him most of the year and worked off the rest at the barn since I taught lessons and closed the barn some nights anyway. Barn charged me an employee discount for board so I still was able to make some money (to cover his vet/farrier bills). I also worked summers co-running the horse camp and then opening/closing most days in the summer since I tended to live on the property for the summer.

                            Rest of the year I occasionally closed the barn and picked up a campus job as well.

                            The issue became AFTER college and after the last summer when I had to take my horses home and pay about 4x as much as I was paying near school (also didn't work off board either). This was a few years ago when you essentially had to PAY to take an internship post graduation and not even the engineers had job offers.


                            • #15
                              I sold my horse when I left for college, so my parents don't have to pay board on top of college expenses The summer before, I went around trialing barns and told them up front that I was used to catch riding. Luckily, I found a barn that was short on riders and they let me ride for free whenever I can - which usually is 2-3 horses twice a week, since I'm taking 17 hours. When I go home (2 hours away), I help pay for lessons and shows by working shows on my local circuit - paddocking, announcing, jump crew-ing.


                              • #16
                                I bought my first horse two years ago while in college.. She is currently at great barn with a indoor/outdoor setup and we do find time to show. My parents pay all my tuition and housing, but the horse is all me. I work as a cocktail waitress part time and make bank doing so. It more than pays for her ful board and training and all show fees.


                                • #17
                                  I rented a room instead of an apartment, worked 20 hours a week (weekends), had a friend half lease her so she had someone to play with for ground work stuff, and kept my horse at a LOVELY facilty that was very much geared toward her (lots of turn out, excellent care, etc), and not quite as geared toward me (no indoor, etc).

                                  Then I got an apartment instead of a room, worked four+ jobs while in school full time, didn't sleep, and ended up taking a semester off due to issues with stomach ulcers (hello, stress).

                                  Now I'm rethinking university as I'm realizing many other lucrative career possibilities. So who knows!


                                  • #18
                                    For my first three years of university I had a lot of help from my parents but only boarded out over the winter, as my parents have a horse facility so it was easier and cheaper to keep my boy there over the summers. I also had full time summer jobs and a part time job working at a barn over those two years. In my fourth year I sold my horse and rode all of that winter on a neighbor's horse while periodically helping out with another friend's horse. I got a new horse this past summer, was working full time and did a few clinics but no showing with him (he hasn't jumped much as of yet.) I couldn't afford to board him over the winter time- or money- wise, as I'm taking course overload in anticipation of graduating. I splurged to board him for the month of December at my trainer's barn, and while it was great, I do somewhat regret it as I am now completely skint. I'm taking six courses and I have a part time job but I only work about eight hours a week, so it basically keeps me afloat and not much else. I also moved out and while my rent is exceedingly cheap and I can now bus from place to place instead of driving, I could definitely not afford board on top of things! Soo looking forward to April when the snow starts melting and I can start schooling my boy again
                                    "Disapproval of the way other people run their businesses and treat their horses is the meat and drink of the hunter-jumper industry."
                                    Working Student Blog
                                    Current Blog


                                    • #19
                                      Well, my parents sold my horse without me knowing which was not part of the plan because I had gotten a ton of scholarship money, both from the school and other sources, so I wouldn't have to take out loans or even tap into my college fund which has now become my grad school fund.

                                      I tried to go without horses for six months and was absolutely the most unhappy child as I was over the college party scene in six weeks, and although involved in practically everything from multiple choirs to my sorority, I hated being so tied down on a small campus. I was very close to transferring on more than one occasion because I seriously felt lost and without purpose.

                                      After advertising "have saddle, will travel" and catch-riding some decent horses, but more often than not, terrible examples of equines including a pony club pony who gave pony club ponies a bad rap and a saddlebred who liked to "jump" ie crow hop everywhere at every possible moment, my mom legit got worried about my safety and consented to helping me get lessons at an actual h/j barn, albeit further than I had intended to travel at first.

                                      Sophomore year new-favorite-trainer-ever had a horse fall in her lap who then landed in my lap as a perfect free-lease scenario, and provided I worked a number of part-time jobs and kept up my grades, my mom paid the other part for the next few years of school. Honestly I was a miserable wretch when I had to take six weeks off from riding once, and my moody-self was more apparent than I thought, since my adviser one day personally sought me out because another one of my professors thought I looked like I wanted my life to end during my riding hiatus and was concerned for my well-being (should add, considering this is a prof that I did not get along with well, I am amazed he paid me that attention). My close friends' first reaction whenever I was in a foul mood was, "um, Pony+, have you been riding at all recently?" And the answer was almost always "no, why do you ask?" LOL. I showed a little when I had time, but honestly doing lessons and clinics was plenty fun.

                                      The big two reasons why I was able to finance horses in college was a) my mom hands-down rocks and cares about my well-being b) a lot of luck. It was the right barn/trainer, the right (saintly, ammie-proof, low maintenance) horse, the right feasible business situation for both leaser/leasee. I am well-aware these kinds of situations don't always happen, so I view what happened to me as a blessing.


                                      • #20
                                        This is literally the story of my life right now, being at the end of my junior year and trying to plan out how to pay for my horses.

                                        I am on full scholarship, so all I have to worry about with school is keeping up grades to keep the scholarship and pay for gas to and from school (hour drive each way). I live at home to save on living expenses, even though I would love to move out and have space to myself.

                                        I keep my semi-retired horse at home and pay the majority of his farrier and veterinary expenses. My Grandpa and Mom are amazing and help me pay to keep my show horse at a H/J barn in my home town. I pay for all of his vet and farrier bills.

                                        I work at as many odd-jobs as I can; babysitting, house cleaning, house sitting, and pet sitting. I also work as a substitute whenever positions are available at a local private school (do not have as many requirements for teachers as public schools have to) and am looking to get on a more regular schedule there.

                                        I am hoping that I will be able to save enough money to show a few times this summer, but am constantly running the numbers to see how much I can truly afford to show. I have struggled with wanting to work more and keeping up with my school work as much as I would like to, but have decided to put schoolwork as my first priority at all times because truly, my education is more important than earning money so I can go to a horse show.

                                        I am amazed how many people sell their horses when they are preparing to go to school. I think having my horses to ride and care for is what keeps me sane during finals week!