Im starting to look into IHSA, and have done some research. I've heard that IHSA gives a solid riding experiance in college, and was wondering if anyone had any recruitment tips or information for scholarships and aid :)
Solid riding experience: This all depends on what level you're riding at now, the college you attend and what you hope to gain from it. I've heard of people saying that riding for their IHSA team was a fantastic experience and those who hated it with a passion.
The quality of IHSA programs vary greatly. Some schools treat the IHSA teams as an actual sports team (and thus help with expenses) and some schools treat the program as a club or intramural team with little to no financial support. Some colleges have their own barns, horses and on-staff trainers. There's also the smaller teams who train out of local barns that must pay for their lessons. Some barns are great and some barns are not so great.
And I'm assuming you're familiar with the showing format? Some people never warm up to the idea of investing all this time and money so they can sit on a horse for a total of about 12 minutes. (10 minutes flat, 2 minutes for fences)
Scholarships and aid: I wouldn't count on it. At least not in the traditional, 'Here's money to help pay for college.' IHSA offers a few smaller scholarships to current IHSA riders to help with riding expenses. And I've heard of a few riding programs to do the same, but again, it's to current riders. Not prospective riders. (That being said, there may be some schools that do, but I have not heard of any personally.)
Most, if not all, athletic riding scholarships are for the NCAA programs. And even then, the competition is very intense. A lot of these kids ride in the big A/AA equitation shows.
(The cool thing about IHSA is that riders of all levels can compete. From walk-trot all the way to advance/open.)
Your best bet is to contact the colleges directly. Try and talk to current team riders, meet the coach and see if it's a program you'd like to be part of.
Now, my experience was a great one. The college I went to had their own barn and a great trainer that was also a 'R' rated judge. They even offered college credit equestrian classes. I took one of these classes as a beginner and was recruited as a walk-trot rider for the team. We had 2 classes (lessons) a week, one team practice and we could practice ride or trail ride anytime a suitable horse was available. (The downside was that this class cost an extra $1,500 a semester and if you wanted to be on the team, you had to take riding as a class. It was totally worth it, but even now, it was kind of pricey.)
If your going to a D1 school you should try for NCAA riding team. IHSA has really helped me become a better horsemanship rider an has really taught me how to make a bad horse look good but that's it. I get no scholarship money, no extra perks. Just another money pit. NCAA offers you scholarships and it's a much higher caliber then IHSA.
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I am currently in my last year of IHSA. It has totally helped my riding out and has made me a better rider. The IHSA is not going to offer scholarship opportunities like an NCAA team, but the IHSA is a little more lenient on their rule system than NCAA. They are also run very differently. Check out the IHSA's website: Intercollegiate Horse Show Association: Home
ive considered both, and im really looking for something that can prepare me to be a better rider and trainer. Also im looking for extremely competitive, i just bought a new horse that has the skill to help take me to bigger competition. I also need some kind of scholarship due to all the moey ive also put into equine ... :p Im not sure if i understand the NCAA as well, any more information??? thanks for the help!
If you want extreme competition go to NCAA thats as good as it gets as far as college level riding
I read a really good article about NCAA riding, let me see if I can find it.
Not sure if you still want info about NCAA teams, but I just got back from the NCAA Elite Riding Camp at Auburn University (like literally, a couple hours ago haha) so I got a really good feel of how NCAA teams run. So if you're still interested I can try to answer a few questions :)
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