View Full Version : Off Topic but animal related

Tish Davidson
09-06-2004, 01:00 PM
My daughter is a senior in high school. She rides competitively on the hunter-jumper A circuit and is looking for a college with a solid English riding equestrian program where she does not have to be an equine/animal science major to be on the equestrian team. The school can be anywhere in the US or Canada and needs to be solidly academic but definitely not Ivy League caliber. We have looked at quite a few schools and haven't found the right combination of horses and classes. She does not intend a career with horses, but wants to ride 4 more years.

Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with university equestrian programs that might be helpful to us?

09-06-2004, 07:39 PM
A few questions before I can offer any help:

Which schools have you already taken off your list and why?
What does she want to major in?
Does she have her own horse that she will be taking with her?
If she has a horse, does she want to board/train at the school or will she be willing to do that somewhere close?
When you say A Level Circuit, are you talking the Eastern Seaboard showing or is she willing to compete at that level in some smaller places in the South and/or Midwest?
Are scholarship programs important and if so, academic or horse related?

I know, 20 questions but answer whatever you are comfortable with and I can give you some ideas perhaps of schools that might fit the bill.


Tish Davidson
09-07-2004, 12:29 AM
Question answers.

We live in California. She has been competing in children's and junior hunters at A level northern California shows for the past 3 years.

She is selling her horse when she goes to college (tuition on the hoof). We cannot afford to send her to college and simultaneously board/train the horse privately, so she will ride with the school equestrian team. You probably already know this, but the way the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association that regulates most college equestrian programs (a few are also modified NCAA) the host school provides the horses and the competitors draw lots to see which one they ride. It is essentially a horsemanship competition to show what you can do (including jumping) on a horse you have never ridden before - so you don't get to ride your own horse anywah, unless you are going to board, train, and compete independently of the university - which is financially out of the question for us. We can handle horse costs or college costs, but not both.

She does not have a strong drive to a major, but is leaning toward psychology/sociiology or maybe social work, possibly working with the blind. She has been a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind for the past 4 years, but she is open to other possibilities. She knows she does not want to be a vet, and she knows that she does not want to limit herself to an animal science major, although she would like the option to take some pre- vet classes for her own enlightenment if that is possible.

Her grades and test scores are good enough to get into most state and private schools except for the most elite academic instutions. She is flexible about where the school is located and how large it is, although she has decided after looking at some small schools thinks that she would probably prefer a larger rather than a smaller school.

Schools we have visited and eliminated
Cal Poly - medicore riding program and you have to declare a major when you enroll and friends who have gone there say it is hard to change once you are in.

Fresno State - only NCAA Division I equine program in the California state school system, but rumors are that the program is going to be eliminated for budgetary reasons. Besides its riding program, not much to recommend the school.

UC Davis - granted, we visited in the middle of a huge weekend rainstorm, but the equine facilities for undergrads were depressing - lots of wet horses with no place to get out of the rain out standing in 8 inches of mud. The vet school is great, but it seems to overshadow the undergrad program, and the kids that are serious about riding all seem to board their horses with local trainers and show privately.

U of Illinois - her dad went there for his MS. She hated it. Don't know why.

Findlay - hotshot equine program, but of the 100 kids on the riding team 99 (literally) are equine majors. Besides, it was a little too religious for her.

Oberlin - not much riding here, but we wanted her to see a small school. She didn't like it - said it reminded her of high school.

Mt. Holyoke. This place has a gorgeous equestrian facility, but the school itself was creepy. The fact that it is all girls is not much of a problem for her, but it is so small and so much seems to depend on going to one of the other four colleges that belong to a shared academic consortium - Amherst, Smith, U Mass Amherst and Hampshire. Mt. Holyoke seemed to have a creepy spirituality about it. They really lost her when the tour guide described how once a year the Mt. Holyoke girls dress up in white dresses and dance around the founder's grave and how they serve milk and cookies every night a 9:30. (Her response was that she wasn't going to college for milk and cookies). She was disappointed, because the equestrian program seemed strong, but the school turned her off.

U Mass Amherst - only looked at it because we were in the area and weren't impressed with its ability to meet her needs either academically or horse-wise..

Skidmore - they were playing polo the day we visited :) but the school was just too small and too snobby-rich for her to feel comfortable.

Schools she has looked at and thinks she will apply to.

Notre Dame - her dream school, but I think she will have a hard time getting in. Besides doing the standard tour, she has met the riding coach and gone to a team practice. The girls on the team were exceptionally welcoming and insisted on showing her their dorms and giving her their own tour of campus. Drawbacks: getting in, cost, the barn is 20 min to half an hour from campus.

Purdue: Why she hated U of Illinois and liked Purdue is beyond me. She has met the riding coach. They are building a new barn on campus (the current one is off campus) that will open in 2005, and they seem to have a fairly strong team in their zone.

U of Maryland: Liked the school better than the riding program, but really liked the school.

U of Delaware: Same thing - not much riding, but liked the school a lot.

Dartmouth: Another NCAA Division I riding program. She is a legacy at Dartmouth. I got my masters there, but I don't think her grades/test scores are good enough to get in unless the want her as an athlete.

So what we're left with is 3 state schools I think she can get into and 2 private schools that are very marginal for admissions . I would like her to look at a couple more places, but am not sure where to go from here.

Scholarships would be helpful, but not essential. Based on our first child's experience, she won't qualify for any need-based assistance. She will be applying for some community service oriented scholarships based on her volunteer work raising and training guide dogs puppies.

Everything I learned about colleges for my first child is useless for the second. The first does not like animals and wanted to go to an urban, academically challenging school. She ended up at U of Chicago and loved it. I only hope the second one will find a place she likes as much, so any thoughts you have will be helpful.


Sorry this is so long, but any help you can give me will be appreciatied.

09-07-2004, 01:58 AM
Hollins (http://www.hollins.edu/academics/academics.htm) Small, private, excellant riding, liberal arts, Roanoke VA. 85% of students on some kind of scholarship/work program.

Lake Erie College (http://www.lec.edu/) Ohio, I'm not sure though if this one still allows non-equestrian majors to also ride but they used to.

U of Penn (http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~equest/index.htm) Nice school in Philadelphia.

Conn College (http://www.conncoll.edu/) used to be all women. Excellant school, horse program, loan/grant program. Academically selective.
Riding program (http://oak.cc.conncoll.edu/~equest/)

Teikyo Post (http://www.teikyopost.edu/) Another CT school worth taking a look at.

UCONN also offers IHSA but not sure if it is limited to horse majors - good school but very large.

Southern schools:
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Tech
Texas A&M
Emory University
Berry College (http://www.berry.edu/stulife/bciet/) - wonderful campus and great area to be in.

West Coast
Fresno State

IHSA school rosters (http://www.ihsainc.com/CurrentTeams/default.aspx)

hope some of these help - take a look at Berry while you are going down the list. :D

Tish Davidson
09-07-2004, 03:11 AM
Thanks for the info. We will work our way down the list. We considered Lake Erie and eliminated it for some reason I now forget, but the others are all new.

09-08-2004, 07:58 AM

Found this site:

University of Rochester (http://www.sa.rochester.edu/equestrian/main.html)

They actually list their competition (more schools for you to check out), which is how I found it. Wanted to check out the University of Guelph, which is my alma mater. It has a decent psych program (from which I graduated), and not only do they have an equestrian team, but they also are an agricultural school, so they have a whole center for equine research.

It's a small city (100,000) with cultural opportunities, not a lot of violent crime, and the campus is really beautiful.

Tish Davidson
09-08-2004, 02:09 PM
I'll check out University of Guelph.
And Canadian universities are so much more affordable than so many US ones. We visited McGill with my older daughter, but it did not resonate with her. I've spent a fair amount of time in Ontario and always liked Canadians' low-key low-flash approach to things. I would be delighted if one of my kids went to university there.

09-08-2004, 06:30 PM
While you're looking for a college I assume you are also checking out scholarships. Since I'm working on a book about how to get scholarships, I may be able to help there.

Why didn't she want to go to U of Illinois? Probably because dad went there. My daughter was the same way by Oklahoma State University. For some reason (probably because mom and dad went there) she thought it was " a little rinky dink college" (her words). It wasn't until she was on campus competing (She was on a crops judging team) a couple of times and the professors at her college of choice had gone to OSU, and she did a little research and found out OSU was one of the top ten colleges in the US in her area. So, your daughter may just have some weird pre-conceived idea about the college just because dad went there. Kids are strange you know.

09-08-2004, 06:53 PM
University of Guelph This is an excellant school! Doug Powell is there and his newsletter is read worldwide. He writes about animal husbandry among other subjects.

09-09-2004, 01:13 AM
I know you're decision's still a couple of months away yet, but if you do decide on U of Goo (as we affectionately call it) give me a shout via email.

Tish Davidson
09-09-2004, 10:32 AM
U of Goo, I love it.
Susan spent tonight reading the Website and found a message board on the equestrian club site that gave her some idea of the background on the team, then she e-mailed them for more information.

I think the problem with U of Illinois was the security in the dorms. You had to use your card key to go from floor to floor and after a certain hour you had to get a security guard to escort you from floor to floor in your own dorm! Also, she went to a riding team practice and said the team was not very advanced and the horses were mediocre. It was interesting to me how 2 schools that look quite similar on paper (U of Illinois and Purdue) felt so different to her.

MacAl Stone
09-10-2004, 12:09 PM
Tish--I don't know that much about the school, but I used to occasionally clinic with a dressage instructor from Pepperdine (http://seaver.pepperdine.edu/studentaffairs/studentactivities/imr/clubsports/equestrian/recreation.htm)

She's since gone to Germany to ride and train with her newly-found Uberhorse (who has broken many of her bones, last I heard) but thought I'd offer it up. *Shrug*