Horse Showing in College

Just because you moved away to college doesn’t mean you have to quit showing.

Get involved with your school and try out for equestrian sports. Journal photo.

Moving to college can be a big change for many students.

I was lucky enough to go to a school that allowed me to bring my horse to school with me. But after I sold my faithful gelding, Lopin En Style, I was horseless and starting to get the itch to show again.

Murray State University, thankfully, has an equestrian team that competes through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. 

I quickly learned that showing for your school brings a whole new kind of pride.

Enroll in AQHA Horseback Riding Program today, and earn great rewards for the time you spend in the saddle. 

IHSA is made up of co-ed teams whose riders range in levels of riding ability. There are eight levels in English riding, beginner through Medal, and six in western, beginner through open.

The IHSA website states that IHSA competition is “highly praised for its structure of competition.”

"The IHSA allows riders with various degrees of experience in the hunter and western rider disciplines to compete individually or on a team. Competition plays a role, but student enthusiasm and team spirit are the major objectives. Emphasis is on learning, sportsmanship and fun,” the website states.

There are around 700 total riders for 34 teams in the United States and Canada in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

NCAA offers varsity equestrian competition, they have a sub organization classified as the National Collegiate Equestrian Association. The NCEA’s mission is, “in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity, and promoting academic and competitive excellence.”

In NCEA there are 22 registered with a roster averaging from 30-75 competitors. All schools offer both English and Western disciplines. While some riders do crossover into  both disciplines, it is a rare sight to see, mainly because they choose one to be their main event.

By enrolling in the AQHA Horseback Riding Program you can earn many awards and accolades. Find out how!

“In varsity equestrian, teams compete head to head or in a tournament-style format. Each team is required to ride the same horse, and judges’ scores are compared across horses. The host school provides the horses and tack at each competition, so hauling horses is not required. The format includes hunt seat equitation on the flat and over fences, western horsemanship and reining. A university may choose to offer only English or western, based on the student body’s interest.”

So whether it is your first year in college or your last, get involved with your school and try out for equestrian sports. It is a great way to meet new people, ride new horses and practice your horsemanship skills.