Horses and College...?
I'm a junior in high school. Today we had to register for senior classes *gulp* made me realize I really need to start thinking about college...
Horses are pretty much my life, I own two of them. My childhood pony and my dressage\jumping show TB. I ride almost every day and would likely go rocking-back-and-forth in the corner crazy if I didn't.
I know I am going to continue some horse involvement throughout college. But I was wondering about people's experiences of colleges and horses. Bringing your own horse? College teams? Expenses? Time management? Positives? Negatives?
I have mixed feelings and need some advice!
I had a course through college. I went to college full time (which really isn't full time), worked full time. Had a horse that I boarded, and my own apartment. I was exhausted and super stressed, but I did it. I didn't have any college related debt either, but I did go to school in England where the costs are a lot lower.
I am a junior also and compete a ton in the summer, and ride almost everyday all year round.
I have been thinking about college since before I can remember, honestly, and I have been planning a really long time. I have a lot of big dreams, most of which are going to take away from my riding, but they will take a lot of schooling to get there. I was planning on out of state for my undergraduate work for the longest time, but have recently committed to staying in state for my undergraduate program. I have done this for the following reasons:
1.) I have no interest in competing dressage at a collegiate level. This is because I do not like the way that college equestrian sports are set up. (jmho)
2.) My parents agreed that because I will be saving so much money by staying in-state, I have the money to buy the horse of my dreams with the remainder of the fund, and still had some left over for grad school. (this was an incredibly complex thing actually, but I am not willing to get into any details)
3.) I will continue to ride for a longer time this way. Who knows if I will be able to afford a horse in my graduate program, but at least I know that I will be riding for at least four more years.
4.) I am in the International Baccalaureate program at my high school and the university I am planning on will shave off my entire freshman year for completing the diploma. This alone saves enough for my new horse.
5.) I am going to be able to enter in my doctorate with zero debt. It will be an amazing way for me to get my feet on the ground, and not have to worry about paying student loans. That enough is a motivator.
Hopefully this helped you. I didn't really even stay on track with your question, I'm sorry. I guess what I am saying is that if you want to keep riding, you're going to need to save money in every place you can, SO STAY IN-STATE.
Thanks AlexS, sounds like you were super busy!
And wow LoveMyDrummerBoy you are WAY more organized than I am! Haha! But the money thing is a huge factor... What do you mean you don't like how the collegiate teams are run? I should probably do some research... Haha
I'm also curios in the time factor. I've heard both "I had no time and my horse sat in a stall..." and "I rode every day, best time of my life!" Opinions?
I took my horse to college, and it wasnt an issue at all. In fact I got a weekend job wrangling dudes at a YMCA camp, and was able to keep her there. It worked out that I worked one weekend a month to pay for board and the other three to pay for beer... I mean err expenses
Time management is a HUGE life lesson to master when you go off to college, whether or not you opt to include horses. If you're living away from home in a dorm or apartment, this could be the first time you have had to figure out when/where/how you will eat, sleep, study, ride, play, do laundry, and pay for it all. It's VERY easy to get off track, but once you find your groove it's all good.
I graduated from a 4 year college with both an Equine degree and a regular Business degree (good cautionary choice, as I no longer make my living working with horses!) I did not bring my own horses with me, preferring to gain more experience riding a variety of different horses at the school and through the traveling Equestrian Team. The Equestrian students have VERY full plates - in addition to juggling all the regular college classes & homework, sometimes a horse final the next morning would require a late night of bathing, clipping & braiding, or maybe you need to give that 2 year old one more quick ride. You get home exhausted, filthy, and long after the school cafeteria closed for dinner, and then you still have to sit down and study for a calculus exam.
Some of us also had to fit in part-time jobs. While I had enough grants & parental assistance to cover most of my tuition & school meal plan, I still had to cover my regular clothes, work clothes & horse showing clothes, daily toiletries, class books, notebooks & pens, tack & grooming supplies for my assigned school horses, laundry detergent & quarters for the laundromat, and the gasoline to get me where I needed to be.
That said, if horses are your passion, you will figure out how and where to fit them into your life - whether we're talking during college or after. Many people have done it and will continue to do so. There is nothing wrong with trying something for a semester and learning whether or not it works for YOU.
I do have loan debt, but most of it has come from the horses, honestly. I'd take out extra just to have a cushion for my annual vet bills and anything else that might come up. Especially after I had to buy a new car a year and a half ago and it was more in my best interest to finance a newer (2009) reliable vehicle than purchase a cheaper, older one with an unknown past.
In conclusion: I am broke. Always. If you ask my roommate, I'm hardly home. But I prefer to stay busy. If I have a lot of free time, I really don't get much done except sit around on the internet.
As for advice: Check out if your top college picks have equine programs and, if so, see if they have a barn owned by the school that allows students to board. It could save you a ton of money in the long run. My college charges something like $125 a month for student boarding, but the biggest catch is that YOU have to do all of the cleaning for it. You just get the stall and hay. But other boarding barns in this area are upwards of $500-600 a month for a stall. I pay nowhere near that because I work off my board, which may also be something to look into for you.
Thanks everyone! Sounds kinda crazy... College in general sounds kinda crazy. I need to make other decisions before the horse one. But I can't imagine not riding...
Everyone's stories are defiantly helping to paint a picture. And I would still love to hear about any one else's experiences. :)
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I'm in the second semester of my community college's vet assistant program, and I'm actually in the process of looking for another horse :) I live at home, I go to school three days a week, I ride horses for a lady who has 2 cutting horses and 2 pleasure horses two days a week, and I intern for a vet on Fridays.
It can be kind of stressful at times, with school and all, but I'll graduate in July so I don't have much longer to go.
I would recommend going to a college that's close to home if you can (at the beginning anyway) my college is only 30 minutes away from where I live (I'm still living at home) It takes quite a bit of the stress off, for me anyways.
I like college a lot more than high school, I will say that. It is kind of weird at first but you get used to it, you still have time, you'll figure it out :)
When I left for college I was going 2 hours away. I did not want to sell my horse and I didn't need to financially so I decided to take him with me. I knew that I would not get to see him enough if I left him at home. Also, there was a very beautiful boarding barn only like 10 minutes from campus. When I was there, as far as time management, it wasn't too bad. It takes a little time to get use to it but especially since the barn was so close I got to see him plenty. I am not going to lie, it is expensive. College has many costs, a lot of which you don't even realize ahead of time. This can make it hard to continue to own a horse, especially two. But in my opinion, as long as you can do it, I would absolutely recommend it. In such a trying time in your life, when you have so many new experiences to deal with and become accustom to, it is incredible to have that safe haven to go to. The automatic best friend that you can always count on. I was a wonderful thing for me to have Casper with me. It made a huge difference. I also found that it was a cool way to make friends. When you talk about having a horse people will become interested and inquire more about it, that's when, if I wish, I invite them to come and meet him. It a great, safe, and nice way to initiate a new friendship. If you have any more specific concerns feel free to private message me. I was just like you when trying to decided what to do about my horse life and college so I know what you're dealing with. Keep your head up! It'll all work out! :D
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