Horseback riding, although intimidating to some, is an awesome experience offered by most colleges. Equestrian teams, or IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) teams are very popular, and a great middle ground between club sports and super-competitive sports. Need more convincing? Here are eight great reasons.
1. Anyone can join.
Male or female, 17 years old or 23, freshman or super senior – it doesn’t matter! You just have to be enrolled at the college to join.
2. You don’t even have to know how to ride.
Equestrian teams are one of the few teams where it looks better to have riders from all backgrounds. There are multiple levels of competition, so complete beginners are welcomed, as well as people who have been riding since they could walk.
3. Meet a new group of friends…to horse around with.
Looking for a new way to meet people outside of classes and parties? This is the place!
4. Riding is FUN. Really.
For those of you who have never even been on a horse, it is a unique experience. Why wouldn’t you want to feel like you’re flying around an arena, working together with a 1500 pound animal?
5. It’s competitive, but not TOO competitive.
Although you are competing by yourself on your assigned horse for individual points, teams are also ranked. So, if you have a bad ride, the rest of the team can make up for it. If you have a good ride, both you and your team get to celebrate!
6. You can actually afford it.
Wanted to ride earlier in your life, but couldn’t afford it? IHSA teams usually have contracts with local barns, so lessons become more affordable due to group rates. Also, you don’t need your own horse to participate– the barn provides them!
7. Riding is a great stress reliever.
College life accompanies so many potentially stressful situations– papers, relationships, friendships, exams and dorm life. Riding is a great way to relieve built-up stress, as it is a form of exercise. Working together with your horse is a great way to restore inner peace.
8. You get to wear cool outfits.
During shows, part of the judging is based upon appearance. You’ll learn to appreciate the beauty of hair nets.
9. You’ll get to spend more time outdoors.
If you’re tired of sitting around in class or being cooped up in the library to study, riding is the perfect excuse to get up and get outside.
10. You’ll meet people outside of your college.
If you’re bored with your own student body, competitions are the perfect way to meet students at other colleges, who share similar interests to you. So what are you waiting for? Take a chance and join your school’s equestrian team.
Kim Meneo is a student at Connecticut College studying English and environmental science. In her free time, she volunteers at a local equine rescue and produces freelance articles for several companies. During the summer, she can usually be found relaxing on the beach with a good book. Any questions, concerns, or general inquiries can be emailed to her at email@example.com