Continuing Horseback Riding in College?
Hello, all! I'm looking for a little advice. I'm a sophomore in high school, and although I still have some time before it's actually upon me, my college years are looming ahead in the not too distant future. In addition to all the academic preparation to get into the university I'd like to, I have been thinking more and more about how I can continue equine activities in my college years. I have been taking riding lessons for four years, but (for economic reasons) do not own a horse of my own. I work at a stable that help disabled children and adults to ride horses as a method of physical therapy and spend about five hours a week there, when academics permit.
I'd really like to continue riding through college and beyond, but I'm not really sure how to approach this issue. If I can't afford to buy a horse now, I doubt I'd be able to get one in college for obvious reasons. I plan on going to college out of state, so I can't continue riding with my trainer and at work. For those of you who have already "been around the block" on this issue, could you please give me so advice? I can't really imagine myself going for four years of my life without some degree of equine interaction.
Well, honestly, I never made it to college. I'm 20 going on 21, so it's not too late, but I didn't have the money, nor could I find a program that really compelled me. I like the more vocational route. So I skipped college and bought a horse instead. Not recomended for everyone, but it's worked well for me...but, if I had gone to college, these are the options I found...
#1 If you can afford it, take lessons from a local barn once a week.
#2 If you are as broke as I was, (I also volunteered at a local barn
for 5+ years so I could ride and work with horses for free), call local
barns in your college's area to see if anybody could use help. alot of
small private barn are dying for free help and would probably be happy
to let you ride in exchange. And since you're not a little twelve year old
who takes like, half an hour to muck a stall, you can be an asset to
them. You actually have some experience. If it helps, get a reference
from your currant trainer. Chores tend to be greater in the winter
months (when you would be at college) It may be a little nerve racking
at first to switch barns, even if temporarily, but you can learn alot by
being under someone new and seeing things from a different
#3 some colleges offer equine programs. You could find a college where
you could either minor in something equine related or even join a
recreational riding team. See what your colleges offer!
Thanks for your input, Val! :) I appreciate it. I'm talking to my parents about this tonight. I was thinking I could see if people needed someone to exercise their horses for them (which is kinda along the lines of what I did for the summer at work). I'm kinda thankful I don't already own a horse. Two of my girl friends at the barn graduated this year and had to sell their horses since they couldn't bring them with. At least that's not part of the equation for me. That'd just make it all the more harder.
I went to a college with an equestrian team. Everything was paid for by the university, and I got to ride 5 days a week. It was awesome. There are programs out there, and they need all levels of riders. So don't think that because you don't have your own horse to practice that you wouldn't be able to make it.
Some colleges and universities have their own stables and lesson programs. You can take riding lessons for PE credit even if you do not make the equestrian teams. Just to add to the post above, most of the riders on the teams at my uni did not own their own horses.
I am in college right now at a school that doesn't have an equestrian team. I wanted to keep riding so badly. So i decided to save up and take a lesson or two at a local barn. I ended up working out a deal with the barn owner/instructor that I would feed horses and clean the stalls 4 days a week in exchange for lessons. I also posted an ad last year on craigslist offering free horse exercising and listed my experience. I ended up helping a woman who had too many back problems get her horses back into shape. There are lots of opportunities out there to keep college students riding, just need to look for them.
I can relate to your situation, I just graduated last year and am now a freshman in college. My original college plan was to go to College of Charleston, which is 2 hours away from my hometown, but I didn't enjoy it there, so instead I came back home to go to a university here for my freshman year. Luckily for me, my parents bought me my first horse for my high school graduation.
When I was moving, I looked up all of the local barns in my school's area and contacted them about interest in working/riding there. I explained my situation and even sent them a resume of my equine background and experience. I found a couple of stables who were interested in having me exercise/feed horses among other things, who also were going to allow me to work off my horse's board. So I would definitely try that if I were you!
Or, you could possibly find a college that hosts equestrian activities or equestrian teams to compete with if you're into showing and such.
Wish you all the best in your college and equine pursuits!
Thank you for all your advice, everyone! It's helpful to get advice from people who have been through this stuff already :) You all are so friendly here x)
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