A BIG thank you to Equestrian College Advisor, Randi Heathman, for joining us on #CampusChat.
When it comes to horses and college counseling, Randi takes the lead.
Randi is founder of Equestrian College Advisor. If you’re a college-bound teen and an equestrian, check out the recap below of the top questions and answers about choosing a college with a college riding program.
If you’ve never ridden a horse, it’s not too late. Explore the opportunities while on your next campus visit. Our complete transcript for #CampusChat is available on Storify.
COLLEGE RIDING #CAMPUSCHAT Q/A – 02/11/15
Q1 What is an “intercollegiate equestrian”? #campuschat
- An intercollegiate #equestrian is someone who competes on a school team in any number of equestrian disciplines.
- Typically, s/he competes in western, hunt seat, dressage, eventing, saddle seat, or polo events.
Q2 How should an equestrian student begin their college search? #campuschat
- Look at the school FIRST! Make sure your academic, social, & #financialaid needs are met before you look @ riding.
- Also, learn about different intercollegiate #equestrian offerings – what will be required, what competitions are like.
- There are 400+ #colleges that participate in intercollegiate #equestrian –you’re sure to find several that meet your needs!
- But the academic and #equestrian balance is crucial – at graduation, you need a degree, not just blue ribbons.
Q3 What makes for a good college riding program? #campuschat
- A good program sets forth clear expectations for riders & educates them about horsemanship & teamwork.
- Good programs put safety first and help students set and accomplish goals for themselves as riders & students.
Q4 What should I ask on my campus visit about boarding my horse? #campuschat
- Ask questions that are most pertinent to your horse’s current living arrangement.
- Ask about turnout, feeding, vet & farrier scheduling. Who handles the horses? What will be required of you each day?
- When are you allowed to ride? Will your horse become part of the school lesson program? What if you can’t make it to the barn?
- Also find out who gets first preference for stalls – often, seniors or serious competitors get first preference.
Q5 Are there equestrian scholarships? #campuschat
- There are some. Riding #scholarships tend to be smaller but can help to offset lesson costs.
- As with any sport, however, academic scholarships are the biggest and the best bet.
- (Math tutors earn students more #scholarship money every year than athletic coaches and showcases.)
Q6 Do I have to be in the animal/vet program to work in the barn? #campuschat
- It depends on the school, to be honest. Some schools prefer their equine majors get the experience.
- Other schools will hire those w/the right skills or give preference to riding team members regardless of major.
- If the school barn isn’t hiring, there may be a local barn looking for help if you have transportation.
Q7 What are the different horse-riding programs (polo, dressage, jumping)? #campuschat
- So many different types!!!
- The majority of the more traditional programs focus on hunt seat (flat & fences), western (horsemanship & reining), & dressage.
- Certain pockets of the country feature polo, rodeo, and even saddle seat.
- Three-day eventing is also one of the fastest-growing intercollegiate #equestrian disciplines.
- A handful of schools even teach natural horsemanship techniques.
Q8 I’m heading to college, is it too late to learn how to ride horses, or play polo in college? #campuschat
- It’s never too late to start! In particular, @IHSAinc teams need beginner riders and often have a difficult time finding them!
- (Countless non-horsey roommates are introduced to the sport because of this every year!)
- Even as a beginner, include a meeting with the #equestrian team coach on your #campusvisit – ask how you can get started.
- Many riding instructors love to introduce new people to the sport and would enjoy including students in that number.
Q9 What type of colleges have better riding/barns (large vs. small, private vs. public)? #campuschat
- Intercollegiate #equestrian teams are found at schools of all shapes & sizes and in all regions.
- There are also many women’s #colleges with long #equestrian traditions.
- For a student seeking intercollegiate #equestrian experience, it’s crucial to search with an open mind about school type.
- The @IHSAinc homepage is updated each fall with a list of the competing schools. You can use it for a quick reference.