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Riding in College?

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  • #41
    I currently ride on a NCAA team. If you are on a budget it is possible to get a great scholarship and have everything paid for when traveling! It is technically considered NCEA so you can google that or message me with any questions!


    • #42
      And another thing!

      Those of you paying tuition and picking your classes based on squishing them into 2-3 days a week are nuts.

      Undergrad is the most fun, luxurious and *expensive* full time job you will ever hold. If you are going to go to college, go there 100%.

      As I sometimes tell my students: Big U already cashed your check. They won't care whether you waste the product you just paid for or not. Getting what you came for is up to you.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #43
        Originally posted by Pony+ an inch View Post

        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.
        As a senior just having finished up... please take my 24-year old fresh into the real world advice here.


        I made my school list out of NCAA div1 teams. And never ended up riding for my school. When you visit schools, take in the whole thing, the spirit, traditions (however silly), the class sizes, student services, housing, cost of living, prestige of your major/department's program, options for online, independent and post graduate study if that's something you're interested in. When I set foot on the campus at my university I fell in love with the place, people, and history. It was like being home. In five years here I've continued to find myself just one tiny part of something so much bigger. Perspective was the #1 thing my life lacked before college, and horses were part of finding that along with my classes and extra curricular activities (student government, volunteer work, and club athletics outside riding).

        Only you can decide what's right for you. Let your parents, school, coaches, and parents help you. If your parents aren't going to fund your riding beyond high school what's right might be very different than if they're going to pay for you to continue to take lessons and show, or if they only will pay board or emergency expenses.

        If your school is very far from home or you need a lot of time to study I'd say leave your horse home for AT LEAST until you finish your first round of exams your first semester. Then you will have an idea what you're up against in college courses. You will have more time to be social with all the other incoming freshman and make some friends. Going off to school the best thing you can do is make good friends! They are the ones that look out for you- from watching your drink at a party to emailing you notes when you get sick. They help you through the rough times- from struggling with a class or your choice of major to struggling with a relationship. You will meet people who stick with you for the rest of your life, don't miss out on that by always being at the barn.

        As far as the actual riding- your priorities may have to change while you study. For me it meant working to be a more self-sufficient rider and trainer on my own. I couldn't get good coaching close to my school. Instead of keeping my horses hours away with a trainer that would ride them more than I did, I made the hard decision to self-train in after my sophomore year. I took my mares to clinics a few times a year, and the clinician mentored me and helped me learn to improve on my own. Having to be self-motivated to get in the saddle and work hard did mean I plateaued somewhat. School took priority over horse shows, moving my young mare up to the low AO's, and sometimes even over riding every day.

        The barn has had to become drama-free, meaning I now pasture board my mares and we ride in a gorgeous grass field instead of training in an arena. I ride bareback more, in a halter more, and in tennis shoes more. There are days I hop on just to walk on a loose rein. My big mare has had to learn to relax, and I think it will make a better show horse of her now that I can go to horses full time (my chosen profession upon finishing college). Gone are the days she would spook if I got off on the right side, turned on some clippers near her, or ran a brush through her mane. That horse grew up to be a rocking horse that will hop over anything, but now plays in the corners a little.

        For me, riding in college meant letting go of being perfect every stride, and instead getting the whole job done, even if it's a little messy. This was so analogous to my college career- a perfectionist student in high school I sometimes skipped assignments because I wasn't able to turn in a perfect paper. In college I learned that A papers and F papers don't always average a C... it's better to get B's on everything, and be a solid B student. I couldn't get straight A's and still ride. (I was a 4.0 student for exactly one semester and I was never more miserable.) I had to pick what classes the extra effort was worth it, and what classes were going to help me more. Getting a C in military history gave me enough time to get A's in marketing and accounting that semester.

        In college, and in the ammie ranks, a good day with your horse ALWAYS has to win, no matter the ribbon or if you even show. I rode in my last horse show in September of 2011, and I'm really happy with that decision. Not only am I saving money, I'm able to spend my time enjoying my horses instead of trying to get them ready for the next show. All the time I used to spend bathing, clipping, pulling, braiding, etc I use to ride. My mares aren't sparkling clean show princesses anymore, they're just normal horses now, and they still clean up just fine.

        Stay open minded to the possibilities- there's so much more to horses and riding that just hunter/jumper shows and being in a program with a good trainer. I learned a LOT about my horses and myself by being 100% on my own 360 days a year.

        One thing I will say- just because your parents aren't there and you're an adult doesn't mean you should ever stop wearing your helmet. So many young ladies go off to college and get in the baseball cap habit. I struck a deal with my Dad that as long as I always wore one, he would replace my helmet every 2 years and/or every crash.

        If there's anything you want to know about schools in the Big12 or SEC I have a good take as I visited almost all of them. If you're looking at smaller schools I'm sure there's lots of people here who would have experiences with many of them and be happy to help you!

        Good luck!
        friend of bar.ka.


        • #44
          I would be cautious about committing to ride during college. Back in the dark ages when I was in college, there were very few college teams. I went to Haverford/Bryn Mawr and I did ride at Radnor Hunt club my senior year but unless you had a car, there was no way to ride. There is now a Bryn Mawr/Haverford Equestrian Team. Not sure where they ride but you could participate through that.

          However, taking on a sport in college is tough. My son is a freshman who was recruited to row at UPenn. He is finding the demands of being on a Division 1 team to be very, very difficult. He loves to row but seriously considered giving it up because to be successful at rowing and get good grades he basically has no social life. He frets because he wants to spend more time enjoying his classes because the professors are good and the other students are interesting. He has to schedule his academics around his practice schedule which has made it more difficult to take the classes that interest him.

          There were several times this year when he really questioned whether rowing was worth it. In the end, he has decided it was, but you have to decide how much it's worth to you to balance so much.

          Haverford is a great college and if you get in there, I'd vote for it! My son wasn't interested because it didn't have rowing and it was smaller than he wanted, but I enjoyed my time there enormously.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


          • #45
            This may be an unpopular view but here goes...

            Time is fungible and only you can prioritize your own time.

            Unless you're embarking on a very unusual career or are independently wealthy, your time is likely to be at MORE of a premium after college. Between starting a career, building a family, potentially going for more schooling-- you're not going to have MORE free time as an adult than you do in college.

            Time management is also a skill that follows you everywhere and you have to learn it. You can either learn it in college, learn it later, or never learn it-- but it's something successful people learn. What better way to learn it than having to make choices for how to spend your time in college where the risks are lower?

            You can, if it matters enough to you, easily juggle riding (to some degree) with college. Easily. Almost no matter what your circumstance (exceptions might be if you have to work a full time job and go to college at night or you're attending college without transportation in some wildly remote area-- neither of which seems to be the case here). You may not be able to spend 5+ hours at the barn daily or do the Big Eq, but the average college student should have no problem slotting in some riding with a normal college schedule. Two to three days a week, hour-long rides should be do-able for most college students.

            How? Time management. If you sleep until noon and then go to classes. That is not good time management. It might be fun. But it's a waste of the day. If you party 4 nights a week and spend 25+ additional hours a week doing Greek events, that might also be fun. Unless you find the "return" on that "time investment" really amazing, it's probably also not a good use of time. When I reflect on college (and I partied plenty) the time I spent partying may have been fun but it did NOT ONE IOTA to advance my life, my career, or my future. You have your whole life to have fun. You have college to get an education and build your future/career. That should be your priority. And after that, you have to slot in activities as they matter to you. If riding matters to you, make time for it. If student activities matter to you, make time for them. If drinking matters more, well, that's your chioce-- but realize YOU ARE MAKING A CHOICE. It's not that you didn't have time to ride, it's that you preferred to spend the time you had doing something else.

            I went to a good school, got a dual degree and minor with honors in both majors, wrote two masters type thesis papers to graduate, maintained grades to keep an academic scholarship, rode on the equestrian team, was the president of three student activites two of which were competitive and involved 20+ hours/week of work plus travel every other weekend (speech team and debate team), was a lesser member of other student activities, was a student TA, did some seasonal jobs on/off for money, went "abroad" for part of my final year, and still found time to socialize/party, etc. It can be done. The key for me was to get up for class at 8am. Go to class 8-9am, 9-10am, 10-11, am, work for an hour or two, get lunch, and then be done with most of my classwork/academic stuff so I had the whole afternoon free. I also took some online classes so I could fit work into the schedule later at night/odd hours. Back then, these were uncommon but I took the initiative to find them and register for them. Compared to what life was like in law school, as a young lawyer at a big firm-- COLLEGE TIME MANAGEMENT WAS A BREEZE.

            Seriously, it's not going to get easier. It's not like in 3 years there will be fewer demands on your time. You have to learn to balance things and make time for what you want to make time for. If it's not riding, it's something else, but it's a lesson better learned now rather than later.
            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


            • #46
              Originally posted by StrawberryFields View Post
              and when people say they managed to do it "all" they are lying! You HAVE to give up social time to keep a job and horse going. I'm glad I had that social time because I was too busy in high school for much of it. Plus you will turn 21 in college and that is a lot of fun and opens up some more doors! You have all the time in the world for horses when you graduate. P.S. it helps to not compare yourselves to other kids your age that didn't go to school or have parents who will pay for them. I almost feel sorry for people like that, but that is just my opinion. They are missing out on a great opportunity!
              Average of 22 credits per semester in an honors track, worked two or three part time jobs, competed my horse, and rode on the IHSA team, of which I was also club president and team captain. Graduated with a 4.0 and spent as much time as I wanted having a social life. I'm so glad that someone I've never met is calling me a liar.

              You can have it all, but it's hard, and you have to have excellent time management skills and drink a lot of coffee.

              Figure out what you want in a school first, and make sure that the things you enjoy- not just horses- are accessible to the campus. If you enjoy being able to go see a movie on a Friday night, but the closest theatre is 45 minutes away, that might be a problem for you, especially if you don't have a car. On the other hand it might be doable if the school has bus trips to Nearby Cultural Center every other weekend. For me, "the right college" wasn't just about the academics and affordability, but also the campus culture and the location.

              I'd urge you to find a college that's a good fit for you first, then, after that, find a place to ride. If riding throughout college is going to be important to you, then you do need to be in proximity to a barn, but don't let proximity to a barn override all other factors.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

              Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
              Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


              • #47
                Originally posted by PonyPenny View Post
                A bit off topic, but what kind of career opportunities are out there for a Equine Studies degree? When I was in college in the dark ages, there were majors in Animal Science which tended to train people to work with livestock as opposed to just horses.
                At my school, "Equine Studies" was an umbrella term and included a few different degree options: Associates in Equine Business Management, Associates in Equine Vet. Technician, or BS in Equine pre-vet (there was one more, can't think of it now). I personally went for all three as a lot of the classes overlapped, anyway, and ended up with the vet tech, business management, and bio degree in the end.

                A lot of schools consider Equine Studies/Science as one degree, with courses covering horse nutrition, vet care, history, business marketing, bookkeeping, facility design, farrier, anatomy/physiology, breeding/foaling, the list goes on. Essentially, they want to send students out there capable of managing a barn or starting their training business with some sort of background if they didn't work their way up with a BNT. Talk about a very specific degree! A lot of students will try to graduate with an ES degree in addition to a second degree, as well as a minor, if attending a traditional, 4-year college.


                • #48
                  I was lucky enough to stay at home during my undergraduate work, so continued taking care of my own horses, taking horses in for training, buying and reselling project horses, etc. I just moved last fall to start my graduate work, and I brought two of my horses with me thanks to financial support from my parents and my grandad- the way my program is set up, I can only really work part-time, so the financial help is crucial! For me, riding is a big stress relief and it also helps me work through whatever projects, papers, etc. I have due. I don't think I would make it through college without that stress relief!


                  • #49
                    I managed 12 - 15 credits, working 4 days a week, and riding 3 - 5 days a week. I had an apartment and leased a horse. I don't need to study much and still maintained a 3.5 GPA. I'm not a drinker or a partier and my campus didn't really have a bunch of social events either. You don't have to party in college.


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                      I managed 12 - 15 credits, working 4 days a week, and riding 3 - 5 days a week. I had an apartment and leased a horse. I don't need to study much and still maintained a 3.5 GPA. I'm not a drinker or a partier and my campus didn't really have a bunch of social events either. You don't have to party in college.
                      Ditto to the party comment. I take 20 credits, am a double major, ride 3-4 times a week, and maintain a good GPA. I am also the president of a club, work on political campaigns, and I am the editor of the political science dept. newsletter at my school. If you organize your time correctly and don't take on more than you can handle it is a nice, and generally easy, balance to maintain. A nice planner is worth its weight in gold.


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        And another thing!

                        Those of you paying tuition and picking your classes based on squishing them into 2-3 days a week are nuts.

                        Undergrad is the most fun, luxurious and *expensive* full time job you will ever hold. If you are going to go to college, go there 100%.

                        As I sometimes tell my students: Big U already cashed your check. They won't care whether you waste the product you just paid for or not. Getting what you came for is up to you.
                        Squishing classes in to 2-3 days doesn't actually mean you are taking less classes. I've taken the same amount of classes every semester since I've been in college and have had anywhere from 5 days of classes to 2. It just means those are some long days.

                        Right now I have classes 3 days a week (tues-thurs) and love my schedule. Its gotten rid of dreading Mondays and my weekend start a day early. Plus I have two extra full days to get work done without infringing on my weekends. Not to mention I can spend an entire day at the barn if I want to.

                        Look. There are 32 girls on my equestrian team. I have never had a single team member not be able to juggle riding with homework, and we have to ride a minimum of 4X a week plus do barn chores each month. We've had several member graduate phi beta kappa. Sororities are MUCH more time consuming then athletic, especially at my school.