I'm in the same boat only I'm ahead :) I'm looking into Centenary College, Cazenovia College, SUNY, Murray State University, Virginia Intermont College, West Texas A&M, Averett University, and I also know Meredith Manor is well known. I'm visiting Murray State Univ. next week! I'd check them all out, West Texas A&M has an amazing program for a price that you just cannot beat. If you get on the eq team, you can get an in-state rate that is at 7k including room and board (INSANE compared to the extreme price tags on some of the schools up north like Caz, VI, and Centenary). I also know William Woods Univ. and St. Andrews Presbyterian College has degrees as well.
PS: I was also thinking I was crazy for wanting to be a trainer/business owner in the equine industry. But, it's the only thing that I am truly passionate about and that I am naturally good at. I've tried other things, but it's the only thing that really clicked for me. You have some time, so I would try looking into other things *just in case*. Also, I too was looking at MM and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread until I saw the living facilities. I'm not a high maintenance person and can live in some pretty bad conditions, but I don't think living on a bus would be something I would want to do for 4 years of my life.
For you, and how you've been talking about your goals, I really recommend WTAMU or Murray State. Both are schools that have the whole "home away from home", have great living conditions, awesome facilities, friendly staff, and you can't beat the price tag.
I checked the net price of Caz U, Centenary, and VI and even with my grades (I have over a 4.0, tons of extra cirricular, NHS, volunteer hours, scholarships, etc) they're prices are still ridiculous. I believe Caz U was over 25k a year just in tuition, Centenary was 41k just in tuition (20k in my scholarships, but room, board and other fees brought it back up to around 35k), and VI was about 36k with everything included. Caz is GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS with a beautiful facility and obviously an amazing program, but for someone like me, it's just too expensive (not to mention its in the middle of nowhere, same with VI). VI has an amazing eq. program too and is really well known for it, but it got terrible reviews, the rooms are terrible (cold showers, splintering floors, no heat, etc; IMO, for the price it shouldn't be that bad) and it's also in the middle of nowhere.
Again, it's all up to YOU and what YOU think is best for yourself and your career! I know colleges don't take ap's until the summer if your senior year (which is what I'm doing
) so I wouldn't be in a rush. I would take your time, visit the schools to get first hand experiences, and do research on not only the school, but the town and student reviews.