Sunday, April 1, 2012

Financing Horses in College, Part II

As we all know, horses are magical creatures that eat money and poop rainbows. The expense makes the prospect of paying for a horse AND college quite daunting.
image from BitterSweetCandyBowl
So the last post on this topic was more focused on how people paid individually to keep horses in their lives, whether that meant relying on parents, scrimping and saving your own money, or teaming up with a significant other. I thought it would be interesting to switch gears a bit to the competitive side of things with a few responses that dealt with what colleges will/will not pay for their equestrian teams.

TB7 from COTH attended a school with a union fee that paid for many expenses, though it's unclear whether this was an IHSA team, an IHSA club or an unaffiliated club:
Our college funded at least some of the expenses since a union fee was built into tuition. They funded gas and hotels/entry fees for shows. They also funded part of our lessons, the remainder was charged to our student accounts. I think my parents ended up paying it since it was charged to the student account which rolled into the tuition. 

jaybee found that an IHSA club paid for much of a lot of the things that TB7's club/team did:
I was a member of my school's equestrian team (club) for 4 years and an officer for 3 of those 4 years (1 year as fund raising chair and 2 years as president). Our club was very lucky in the fact that we were given a decent amount of money from our school that covered most of our IHSA show fees (entries, travel, hotels, etc.) As far as the team went, anything that wasn't covered by the school was at my expense. I was responsible for IHSA membership fees and my lessons. I worked out a deal with my coach and was able to exchange barn work for lessons and I was privileged enough to have her offer me horses to ride just about any time I was at the barn (of course, I would also help out around the barn whenever needed). I am very grateful to her for that saddle time, it helped to keep me sane.

Rel6 found that at SUNY Genesco, the varsity team pays for everything:
I go to SUNY Geneseo, and if you make the team everything is paid for. Lessons, shows, entries, transportation, hotels...we are even given food allowances for horse show weekends.

hj0519 had a similar experience:
I think it's typical for a varsity team to have everything covered.

I ride on a varsity team and the school pays for everything - transportation to shows, entries, IHSA fees, lessons, USHJA membership fees for anyone who doesn't have it, hotels when we stay overnight, flights to Nationals (for competing riders/coaches), and food at all shows (for all riders, whether they're competing at that particular show or not).

So it looks like at least from the COTH sampling, most things are paid for. Of course it's important to keep in mind that many schools do things differently--if you make NCAA, you're pretty much set, but things are not as uniform for IHSA.
via NCEA
via IHSA
Some schools partially or completely fund IHSA through the athletics department, but other schools consider it a "club sport" and members may have to fundraise or set up a member horse-care schedule to meet their expenses. Other factors include whether the school owns the horses or if they are owned by a local barn that allows its horses to be used for a fee. So there are many reasons that the costs are variable.

I got that information from a book review I did for my internship. The book is called The High School Equestrian's Guide to College Riding, and although, as an English major, I found the rampant typos (no joke, at least one to a page in the last half of the book), redundant information (some stuff is repeated almost word for word), and cheesy cartoons of horses studying, jogging, and dressing in interview clothes to be very off-putting, the information about the whole college riding process is pretty useful. Most of the info on all of the different organizations is available online of course, but the book compiles it in one place for easy comparison, and it includes info on lesser-known organizations like the Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, the Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Association, and the Intercollegiate Polo Association.

I am really going to have to find someone who has ridden for the Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and get them to write something for the blog. That whole concept just seems like a BAD idea to me. Let's see how many concussions you get before you're academically disqualified!

Anywho, feel free to chime in on what your competitive college riding program did/did not cover! I'd be interested to hear from people who did not have as much paid for as the COTHers who responded--how did your club/team handle the expense?

Moral: Know before you go.

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