The AQHA Intern Experience

Six Benefits of Having a Horse in College

The benefits of being involved with horses while in college outweigh the costs in many ways.

Spending time with horses while taking classes can be very beneficial for college students. Photo courtesy of Amber Hammes

Horses are, in many ways, a lot like college - expensive and mounds of work. Just like with college, though, horses are an investment in you.

It might sound counterintuitive to most parents and college students to be doing something that takes time and money at a point in life that takes time and money, but I assure you that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Benefit No. 1: Academic Motivation

Paying for my American Quarter Horse during college makes me realize how seriously I need to take this whole college thing. I work hard in school because I know it will pay off in my future.

Failing classes and skipping study time aren’t options because I’ve got a horse to feed! His future hangs with my ability to succeed professionally.

To succeed in college and professionally, internships are key. Did you know AQHA has an internship program? Visit to learn more!

Benefit No. 2: Stress Reliever

How many times have you sat in your dorm room or the campus library and had a meltdown before a big exam week? We’ve all been there; it’s not fun! Scheduling time for horses between study sessions actually helps me do better in my classes because it helps alleviate stress from scholastic pressure. Taking a deep breath of alfalfa hay and pine shavings every couple of days is the perfect way for me, and a lot of equestrians, to deflate and focus on something that truly brings happiness.

Benefit No. 3: Physical Activity

It’s really easy to Netflix-binge during college because your mother isn’t there to tell you to go do something else. When you have a horse dependent upon you to get the exercise and care he requires, it’s not as easy to waste a day on your futon. Riding, caring for horses and just being outdoors are great ways to stay physically active and keep that freshman 15 at bay!

Benefit No. 4: Community Building

Going to college is like getting ripped from your home and being thrust into a whole new world. It can be intimidating to meet new people and insert yourself into a new community. Meeting people with a shared interest of horses makes this so easy, though! Chances are, if you’re boarding or taking lessons at a barn close to campus, there are other college students doing the exact same thing.

Join your local AQHA community by becoming involved with your local AQHA affiliate. For a list of affiliates, visit

Benefit No. 5: Stay Out of Trouble

It’s hard to get into trouble when you don’t have time for it! Instead of going out on a Thursday night, you’ll be at the barn making memories with your horsey pals. Plus, you’ll arrive on time for your 8 a.m. class the following morning, ready to learn.

Benefit No. 6: Budget Keeping

To finance your horse habit, you’ll have to learn how to spend wisely and handle your finances responsibly. Having a horse in college is financially doable, but not without a strong grasp on budgeting. If you don’t have that yet, you’ll get there real quick!

Horses are expensive. There is no denying that. However, horses are also amazing creatures that can pay their way through non-financial means. I’m not claiming you’re going to strike gold, but you may find that the benefits to owning or leasing a horse during your college years (or any other stage of your life) are worth the money and time.