I know many of today’s equestrians are in high school. If you are, chances are you’ve thought “What am I going to do about riding in college??” There are many different paths you can take, so first decide what you want to do, what your funds look like, and how much time you think you have. Better yet, how well do you manage your time?
Many colleges have IHSA equestrian teams. I personally did not ride on my college’s team due to the time commitment. If you think you will have the time or think you can balance riding with school and work, then IHSA is a great way to continue riding throughout college without all the responsibilities that come with owning or leasing your own horse. You will get the opportunity to ride a wide range of different horses and hone in on your equitation skills! I’m not sure about all colleges, but at mine the riders were only required to pay for their own show clothing… everything else was covered!
Committing to team practices, workouts, traveling, shows, and meetings may sound like too much for you to keep up with at college. A half lease is a great option if you are still wanting to ride a few times a week. Look around for local barns near your campus and see if you can find a horse available for a half lease. This option is more time manageable. However, keep in mind that half leases typically run around the price for half of board.
Another thing you can do at a local barn is take weekly lessons. This only requires one day of the week of your time, but your riding skills will stay up to par! Plus you’ll be getting that horsey time we all crave. Sticking to weekly lessons is also much more affordable than a half lease.
Your own thing on your own time
Now for the option that I chose… a modge-podge of things on my own time. I rode at my home barn whenever I came home from college. Whether it was for the weekend or on a break, you could always catch me back at my old barn. I had many riding opportunities here such as helping hack greenies and earning lessons/rides for helping around the farm. Sometimes I went for long periods of time without returning home so I had to find some way to ride in between. I did a couple things to get in some riding, while at college. I found a local barn and took lessons when I could afford it and had the time. I also put out an ad on Facebook detailing my experience and asking if anyone was looking for an exercise rider for their horse(s). I stated I would exercise their horses for free, just in the exchange of getting the riding time! I got SO many responses from individual owners and ended up riding a lady’s OTTB gelding a couple times a week for her one year.
Let me know if you have specific questions about how I managed time and money for riding or how I got different opportunities set up. I’d be happy to help out!
-Hannah + Z