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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heya! I'll start by saying I apologize if my english has a few flaws here and there, its not really my main language. Also, this post might be a bit long.

I'm a 14(soon 15) year old girl, from puerto rico, really interested in the horse world, but not really born into a family who had horses or rode (only one family member is a horse person).
I recently started taking riding lessons and I really enjoy it, and hope to keep growing & learning as a rider.

I've been looking on the internet for nice equine colleges since a while ago because I want to have an idea for later in the future. I really really liked Hartpury college in the UK.
I do have a few (hope not too many) questions and doubts, im pretty sure most of them are silly, but maybe I'm 2 young to understand completely (or I'm just dumb).

1. I know I'm maybe too young to worry about colleges rn, but god, the tuition fees.( Don't get me wrong, everything there seems amazing) I'm pretty sure I'd count as an International student, so that means I'd have to pay around $10,000-$13,000 for the tuition each year, not including food and other extras, am I right? How does one afford all that?

2. I tried reading about applications, I understood some parts, but then there's something about some exams. Does one fill the application, and if you get "accepted" you need to take exams aswell? (This is a really stupid question I know)

3. I'm thinking taking more than one course, maybe the equestrian coaching course and some other things too. I really would want to become a pro showjumper. Am I setting my expectations too high?

4. I'm pretty sure backup plans are good too. I just dont know much about equine colleges.

5. It would be pretty great if anyone who studied/is studying at Hartpury would tell me their experience if you feel comfortable doing so. What did you decide to study? You dont need to answer this one if you dont want to, but how did you get there? (For example, did you travel, or maybe you already lived in the UK, ect..)

I know I cant fall too in love with any colleges or universities because not everything goes to plan. I just want to make sure I'm not setting my expectations too high. I'm really positive about getting further in the horse world and want to work hard to accomplish my goals.

I may sometimes not respond, but I do read all replies and am incredibly grateful for those who take some of their time to answer my doubts and questions. Thank you, and I hope you have an amazing day/night:)

4,519 Posts
I will tell you what everyone here always tells people when they ask about going to college for equine studies -- it's not worth the money. People say that it's more valuable to just have basic horse experience (riding, caring for them, etc.) than a degree. People usually suggest getting a degree in something practical while getting horse experience on the side.

This is just what I've heard, I have no personal experience myself.

Is there any place near you where you could get some practical experience now, even if it's just mundane stuff like mucking out stalls and such?

Also, you are NEVER too young to start thinking about college! Good for you!

2,110 Posts
First off, kudos for starting to take a look into your future at such a young age! And I am happy to hear you are a very positive and hard working young lady! (Also, your English was fine! Better than most native speakers I encounter!)

I'm going to drop you into a soft pillow of reality for a minute, from an unbiased perspective.

1. You are never to young to start thinking of what college you would like to attend in the future and you're about the age where by putting in the hard work it will really start to pay off! I suggest becoming a working student at an accredited facility so that way you learn both ends of the horse world; the dirt and grime of the barn chores as well as the fun and challenging riding/training/ground work aspect. By doing this and advancing in your riding you could look into riding scholarships to help students through college. Some colleges will even personally offer scholarships to riders who apply. Always, always continue to look and apply for scholarships (normally your last year of high school (or your equivalent)) as they will most definitely help towards paying your tuition. I know 10-13 thousand sounds like a lot of money right night but it goes quickly. Another thing you can do is to start setting aside money now be it $5 or $30 a week in envelopes or given to a trusted family member this can be your food, book, and living expense money when you get into college. This will help you a TON believe me, this is probably what saved my behind when I was in college (non horsey major but we'll get to that later) Also, I know in the US we have something called a FAFSA which offers financial aid help to those who qualify look into seeing whether or not Puerto Rico has something along those lines. It helps with grants, loans, scholarships, work study courses, etc.

2. NOT a stupid question at all, the only stupid question is the one not asked. Some colleges will have you apply and if you are accepted you are to then take their entrance exams to see what level of course you would be suitable to start out in. Others have you take exams depending on the program that you are entering. For example, someone looking to become a theatre major may have to audition before they can enter the school. If you are looking into doing an equine major position that includes horse handling or riding they may make you send an audition tape or take a riding exam to ensure that you have the basic level of skills to enter and be successful in the courses that you are interested in. This is where that working student position will come in handy.

3. Yes and no about your expectations as life has a funny way of keeping you humble. Keep your dream and work at it, work hard. But may I suggest that there is not much that one can do with an equine degree so maybe major in business management with a minor in equine coaching/training. That way if life throws you a curve ball you will have your non-equine degree to fall back on should you need it. The business degree will also help with the coaching as you would be essentially running a business and your business degree would give you a real edge in the equine world because many people can be coaches but not as many people know how to run a business properly AND coach. As for being a professional show jumper be prepared to WORK HARD if you really want that. That working student position I mentioned comes in handy again. Study, practice, work hard, work under multiple trainers to learn various styles. This is how many pros start out by apprenticing under people who already know what they are doing. It is a HUGE sacrifice of your time, energy, money, and resources but if you really want it, it will all be worth it. Still the non-equine degree to fall back on should help a lot as a VERY small percentage of people who are trying actually make it to the Professional level.

4. I have mentioned a lot about the back up plans in the above answers. I would definitely major in a non-equine course first and minor in the equine studies it just gives you a nice buffer should the horse world not work out in your favor.

5. Unfortunately, I did not go there so I cannot answer this one, my apologies.

You are not setting your expectations too high at all it's just whether you are willing to put in the amount of work it takes to get there and then risk the chance that it will all fall apart once you get there because unfortunately nothing in this life is guaranteed.

And please stop calling yourself dumb, the fact that you are looking forward to your future and doing what you can to be prepared proves that you, my dear, are far from dumb. I had to stumble through the world of college alone because no one in my family had ever done it and as much as I felt "dumb" at times you keep your chin up, ask questions, and hold onto what you learn as it will help you in all aspects of your life. Don't put yourself down or mock your psyche ever, you are doing amazing! Keep checking around to different colleges to see what they all have to offer. Some have equestrian courses as well as regular courses, some have equestrian teams, some have just equestrian studies; there are so many different things out there that you really have to part the reeds and take a good look around!

Good luck! And the horseforum is here for you to try and answer any questions that you may have! Never stop asking questions as it is the best way to learn! ~hugs~
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