Life as an Intercollegiate Equestrian
Mar10

Life as an Intercollegiate Equestrian

Randi Heathman The Equestrian College Advisor For most athletes, the transition from high school to college involves learning to play their sport at a faster pace or find themselves facing larger, tougher opponents.  For equestrians, however, making the same transition from their high school competitions into the intercollegiate realm is far more drastic. Gone is the format of one horse and rider team hoping to out-class a group of similar horse and rider combinations and be declared the best.  Instead, that familiar framework is replaced by a team structure that utilizes a draw system wherein each rider in a particular class draws the name of an unknown mount from a hat just minutes prior to their ride!  No warm up or “getting to know you” period is allowed for horse and rider; instead, riders must literally learn as they go, performing in front of the judges as soon as they pick up the reins. Yet though it might initially seem cruel to take collegiate equestrians out of their comfort zones so drastically, most are enthusiastic in their support for the unique system, which is based purely on horsemanship and skill and omits the need for high-dollar mounts and expensive trainers – something that has long given traditional horse shows an air of elitism. In addition, the intercollegiate equestrian format has divisions for not only the most experienced riders, but also the least experienced, with a beginner division that encourages new riders to try riding for the first time. Couple the inclusiveness of the structure with the cost-effectiveness of teams not having to travel to their meets with horses in tow, and the intercollegiate equestrian system begins to appear like a big friendly club that spans nearly 400 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Thus, when it comes to intercollegiate equestrian sports, the change in format isn’t to be feared so much as embraced.  It’s an exciting opportunity for high school equestrian athletes to take their skills and their riding to a whole new level and all they need to do to make it happen is a little research on what college has the academic program and riding team that will be their best match. Related reading: For more information about college equestrian programs or equine studies, please review the transcript from #CampusChat, our Wenesday night Twitter chat . To read about life as an equestrian at one college in Virginia, check out:  Smart See, Smart Do: Bridgewater College Equestrian Center Top 10 Weirdest College Majors...

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Smart See, Smart Do: Bridgewater College Equestrian Center
Aug30

Smart See, Smart Do: Bridgewater College Equestrian Center

by Su Clauson-Wicker Most students ask "Can I bring my car to campus?”   But at Bridgewater College, the question is "Can I bring my horse?" Campus tour guides are happy to say that at Bridgewater, the answer is often yes. Spaces are reserved for student horses in Bridgewater’s equestrian center, where steeds experience all the comforts of home as well as extras like automated waterers. Prospective students should plan a college visit that includes Bridgewater College’s year-round equestrian center. The facility includes two barns, 30 horses, two outdoor arenas, and one of the largest indoor arenas in western Virginia – a world-class facility to supportits flourishing equestrian program. “I feel we have a top-of-the-line facility, one comparable with any equestrian center,”says Beth Boteler, Bridgewater College assistant director of riding. The 10-year-old equestrian program has taken either first or second place in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships five years running and placed in the top five nationally in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association this year. The team practices and hosts intercollegiate horse shows at the riding and training facility located 15 minutes from campus. The 75-acre center includes fully-equipped classrooms, heated tack rooms, jumps, other support structures, and a full string of horses capable of teaching all levels of riders. Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college in the Central ShenandoahValley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state's first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to nearly 1,700 undergraduate students. Planning a college visit is easy. Just call Admissions at 1-800-759-8328 or 540-515-3753. If you would like to arrange a visit with a professor or coach, attend a class,or visit the equestrian center, please schedule at least a week in advance. Saturday appointments fill quickly, so call as early as possible. Explore Bridgewater College on SmartCollegeVisit: Academic Profile - demographics, requirements, campus tour video, travel...

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