If you are a hot-shot equestrian, whether English or Western schooled, or into the Rodeo scene, there are some hotly contested scholarships. Now an Emerging Sport in the NCAA, equestrian sports are offering richer scholarships than ever before just to attract top talent.
Get Recruited to an Equestrian Team
Much of the skill of equestrian sports lies with the rider, including equitation or appearance, and horsemanship. The NCAA offers some excellent tips on how to prepare for recruitment. An excellent recruitment tip: when you submit videos of your skills make sure you are in proper attire for the equestrian style and include footage that really demonstrates your versatility, as well as skill in the sport.
NCAA requirements include registration with the athletic Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. Remember, if you are not yet in your junior year of high school you will not be able to communicate with college coaches.
How to Find the Teams that Compete in Your Equestrian Class
When you’re shopping for an equestrian team it helps to know which offers your equestrian class: hunter seat (including flat and fences), western, eventing, and dressage. The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Inc. maintains a comprehensive regional map of college equestrian teams as well as stats on equitation class and team size.
NCAA Varsity Equestrian Scholarship Schools and Limits
The NCAA limits equestrian scholarships to 15 per college or university--Div 1 and Div 2—that run a program according to the NCAA Emerging Sport of Equestrian Women’s program. Equine scholarship requirements vary among the individual schools; there are full and partial scholarships, so interested applicants will need to contact the school of their choice for more information.
Division 1 NCAA Equestrian Programs:
* Auburn University in Alabama
* Baylor University in Texas
* Brown University in Rhode Island
* California State University, Fresno
* College of Charleston in South Carolina
* Cornell University in New York
* Delaware State University
* University of Georgia
* Kansas State University
* New Mexico State University
* Oklahoma State University
* Sacred Heart University in Connecticut
* University of South Carolina
* South Dakota State University
* Southern Methodist University in Texas
* Stephen F. Austin University in Texas
* Texas Christian University
* University of Tennessee, Martin
* Texas A&M University, College Station
Division 2 NCAA Equestrian Programs:
* University of Minnesota
* Pace University in New York
* Stonehill College in Massachusetts
* West Texas A&M
How to Get an Equestrian Scholarship at a Div III School
You’ve heard: Div III schools can’t give out athletic scholarships. And there are some very well respected and fiercely competitive equestrian programs among the Division III colleges. Without a doubt, Div III schools with strong equestrian teams have strategies in place for attracting top talent to their fold—they shop for skilled athletes with equally sound academic records. If you’re a talented and motivated rider with a great academic record to boot you have quite a bit of flexibility. There are advantages to riding for a non-scholarship equestrian team, not the least of which is less performance stress. Don’t discount the merit and need-based scholarship muscle that some savvy schools have at their disposal. It’s just another means to attract good riders.
The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. Scholarships
Multiple schools across the USA offer scholarships to United States Pony Club members. The amount awarded and the criteria to be met vary with each school. Interested applicants need to contact the school of their interest for more information. Participating schools:
* Bethany College in West Virginia
* Centenary College in New Jersey
* Delaware Valley College
* Georgetown College in Kentucky
* Lake Eerie College in Ohio
* University of Louisville in Kentucky
* Midway College in Kentucky
* Otterbein College in Ohio
* Salem International University in West Virginia
* Stephens College in Missouri
* William Woods University in Missouri
* Wilson College in Pennsylvania
The Race for Education Scholarships for USPC Members
Two types of scholarships are available through The Race for Education Scholarships program. Both The Horsemen’s Scholarship and The Thoroughbred Scholarship have requirements for who may apply based upon the applicant’s background and income. Age and GPA are also determining factors.
Other USPC Scholarships
Some members of the United State Pony Clubs, Inc have established scholarships for education and training of other members. Six different scholarship foundations have been established and each has a different set of criteria for application.
Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation Scholarships
Students across the United States may apply for the Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation Scholarships that are awarded yearly at the IHSA National Horse Show. Applicants must show a financial need as well as a history of equestrian experience and involvement. Availability of funds determines the amount of scholarships given as well as the amount awarded in each.
University of Findlay
Ohio’s University of Findlay offers 10 equestrian scholarships. More information regarding the criteria to be met for application, deadlines, amount awarded, etc. must be obtained from the Financial Aid Office.
$1500 Equestrian Scholarships
The Knox School in New York offers equestrian scholarships in the amount of $1500 for students participating in their first year of the school’s equestrian program. Students may be at any grade level but must show acceptable academic merits as well as a history of community service and extra-curricular activities. All applicants must also submit a fictional short story with the main character being a horse.
Wild West Equestrian Sport—Rodeo and Barrel Racing Scholarships
For equine fanatics more tuned to the Rodeo scene, head west to the University of Wyoming. There you may be able to qualify for a Rodeo Scholarship.
How to Turn Your Equestrian Sport Into Your Career
While many other NCAA athletes may pursue their sport professionally, the same is also true of top equestrians. In fact other career options in the field include: professional horse handler, stable manager, horse trainer, and riding instructor, to name a few. Another popular interest among riders is animal science and veterinary medicine. In fact many schools that feature an equestrian program also provide these major fields of study.