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barnbumgirlie02 03-07-2010 01:24 PM

Big decisions: advice please!
 
Okay, so here's the deal: I have wanted a horse since I was three years old and went on my first pony ride at the pumpkin patch. I would beg my parents to buy me one for every birthday and christmas ever since. When I was 14, they got me a job at a stable. I have been working there for over four years now, mucking stalls, rotating the horses, feeding and watering, and general barn cleaning. I've learned how to ride and went to camps, etc.

Now, I am 18 years old and heading off to college (only 3.5 hours away) in August. I got a full ride, so my parents don't have to pay for anything: tuition, room and board, meal plan...it's all covered. SO, they are considering getting me a horse! My first thought: YES! Dream come true, after 15 years of begging and waiting. My second thought: holy crap, I'm going to college now. I've been to college-like programs over the summer, and I don't think it will be TOO difficult of an adjustment for me, but I'm still worried. I would get the horse in June probably, so I would have the whole summer to get to know him or her and get used to the added responsibility. There are stalls available at the university farm for a pretty cheap price, and the farm is just minutes from my dorm.

So I guess what I would like to know is... What are your thoughts on bringing a horse to college? Should I take my chance at finally getting a horse, now that it has come? OR wait until after college? Any thoughts would be appreciated, I'm reallly stuck here.

Cheshire 03-07-2010 01:54 PM

Just be honest with yourself...DO you think you have what it takes to go to college and care for a horse? I know a lot of members here do, as do I. Not sure how rigourous a course load you are starting off with, but atm I am taking 12 credits, plus 3 hours of practice on my instrument daily, plus getting out to feed most nights and actually working with the horses around 3-4 times per week.

It's pretty cool imo that your uni has space available at such a close distance. And, given that you aren't having to pay regular tuition, the extra moolah put out on boarding and horse care should be a bit easier to digest.

Of course I don't know anything about actually bringing a horse with me to college, so other peeps could probably attest to that. But personally I say if you feel you can, and the university farm meets or exceeds your expectations on care and such, go for it. :)

Lucara 03-07-2010 03:27 PM

It would be a jam. Between meeting the minimum credit requirements, study time, if you have to intern or study abroad. Plus a job to support the care, vet bills, farrier bills and boarding of the horse. A horse is a constant bill. The payments never end. Its easy to think that "sure! I can do it!" but you don't want to make the mistake of assuming you can and then finding out you can't after getting the horse.
The horse market, at least in Florida, is still in the crapper. Selling a horse is NOT easy or quick so if you decide to get one, make sure its one your able to afford.

Right now I'm only taking 3 classes and a full time job and I barely have time to spend with my bird. Trying to care for a horse daily just wouldn't work for me BUT, that being said, I would definitely give it a shot. Theres no guarantee that after you graduate, you will be able to afford anything because then you have to find a place to live and everything else.

barnbumgirlie02 03-07-2010 03:44 PM

Thanks for responding. I'm really in a jam and I appreciate your insights.

I would be taking 15 hours per semester for sure...as for what I'm studying, I'm not sure yet. Seeing as my tuition is free, I probably won't get a job. I'll work now and over the summer and save money and then my parents will probably help me out. (I know this sounds really snotty, but I'm not haha. We are by no means rich...my parents just want to reward me for all the hard work I put in in the last 8 years of my life to get to where I am today. And since we don't have to pay for college...) I do know for sure that I will join the equestrian team.

My biggest concerns are a) making sure the horse will be well taken care of and b) having enough time for my studies. I have a pretty hectic schedule now, so I'm good at balancing things. I just don't want to end up overwhelmed and have to sell my horse after having him/her for 6 months. That's not fair to either of us. But I want one soooooo badly. :shock:

speedy da fish 03-07-2010 03:44 PM

im in a simular situation i bought my 1st horse in october after 17 years of begging and im off to uni in september and taking my horse with me :s, cant imagine how much that is going to cost... :s the thing that worries me is that i wanted a horse that would be a challenge... and i certainly got that, im worried what the livery staff are going to think of him when i go :s im trying to think it wont take him and i to settle. if you think you can take the responsablity then go for it! i will never have a day of my life now without my horse, now i have the taste for it, no matter how hard it is emotionally, finacially i will stick by him. im 18 too and never lived away from home, im looking forward to uni more now i know im going with someone i know x

Lucara 03-07-2010 03:47 PM

Why don't you do this..you dont NEED a horse right this minute. Why don't you give college a try for a semester and see just how much time you have left over, how you react to the stress of it all and such. If you think, after a full semester, that you will have the time and funds for a horse, go ahead and get one.

thesilverspear 03-07-2010 05:38 PM

I kept a horse through uni, as an undergrad and as a postgrad. I was at a small liberal arts college that didn't shirk on the homework, either, so I was usually up to my eyeballs in papers and readings. My senior year I was doing about two hours a day of practice on the Irish pipes as well and still saw my horse most days. I think I was better at time management then. Anyway going to the barn for a ride was a welcome, much needed break from studying and I met a lot of my best mates there, as the barn was part of the college.

Yeah, it's huge a time commitment and a money commitment. But totally doable whilst maintaining an acceptable GPA. Basically what that means is that you won't be able to participate in every uni club or uni sport that strikes your fancy. You'll be committed to your studies and your horse (that sounds very straight-arrow and I've seen people who say that as they have the horse, they would not be out drinking and having debaucherous parties, but I found that some of the most debauched parties at uni were the riding team/club ones... ah... I miss my undergrad days... anyway....).

I wouldn't have done it (or still be doing it) without her. My only caveat to you would be that I'd owned horses for about five years before I went to uni and this particular one for about a year beforehand. So I knew what I was doing in terms of the horse ownership thing and I knew my horse. Unless you've had a full lease or something like that, there is a lot to learn when you get your first horse. Even if you've done loads of research and taken zillions of riding lessons, you find out pretty quickly how little you know and end up on an incredibly steep learning curve. So while I think having a horse at uni is fantastic, it might be a lot to take on if you're a brand new horse owner and starting uni at the same time.

thesilverspear 03-07-2010 05:38 PM

I kept a horse through uni, as an undergrad and as a postgrad. I was at a small liberal arts college that didn't shirk on the homework, either, so I was usually up to my eyeballs in papers and readings. Going to the barn for a ride was a welcome, much needed break from studying and I met a lot of my best mates there, as the barn was part of the college.

Yeah, it's huge a time commitment and a money commitment. But totally doable whilst maintaining an acceptable GPA. Basically what that means is that you won't be able to participate in every uni club or uni sport that strikes your fancy. You'll be committed to your studies and your horse (that sounds very straight-arrow and I've seen people who say that as they have the horse, they would not be out drinking and having debaucherous parties, but I found that some of the most debauched parties at uni were the riding team/club ones... ah... I miss my undergrad days... anyway....).

I wouldn't have done it (or still be doing it) without her. My only caveat to you would be that I'd owned horses for about five years before I went to uni and this particular one for about a year beforehand. So I knew what I was doing in terms of the horse ownership thing and I knew my horse. Unless you've had a full lease or something like that, there is a lot to learn when you get your first horse. Even if you've done loads of research and taken zillions of riding lessons, you find out pretty quickly how little you know and end up on an incredibly steep learning curve. So while I think having a horse at uni is fantastic, it might be a lot to take on if you're a brand new horse owner and starting uni at the same time.

sandy2u1 03-08-2010 12:29 AM

Gratz on the scholarship!!!!!!! You should be very proud of yourself. If I were your parent I'd be wanting to reward you too. I think you should go for it! It sounds like you already know how to manage time. Most people have to work while they are in college. Because of your hard work, you don't. See...there's you some extra time already :wink:


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