Review: "High School Equestrian's Guide to College Riding" by Sloan Milstein

This book is a must-have for high schoolers who have an interest in collegiate riding.

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The High School Equestrian’s Guide to College Riding , by Sloan Milstein, explains how the equine factor fits into college plans. Whether you own, ride, show, or simply enjoy horses, college is an excellent time to start, improve, or build upon what horse experience you already have. Although the book is geared more toward those who own their own horse or plan on competing while at school, it can also be a resource for those who are just starting their equestrian career or simply want to major in an equine field of study.

For the competitive student, this guide gives you a step-by-step game plan that will improve your chance of being recruited. It also clarifies the rules regarding when a coach may contact riders or parents to prevent riders from making fatal mistakes early in the process. Additionally, it includes sections on developing your equestrian resume. For those new to collegiate circuits, an entire chapter is devoted to the organizations that oversee various college sports from dressage to polo.

This book also includes many good tips that are applicable to any college search. It covers what to look for on college visits, how to narrow your top picks, pick safety schools, and prepare applications. Additionally, the book has sections on general college selection, test scores, visits, admittance, and obtaining financial aid. It also explains how to choose the equestrian teams, clubs, and programs that best fit your needs.

There are several worksheets in the book that are an excellent resource to use during your college search. They are especially helpful when considering college choices with a high school advisor who may not understand much about a college’s equine factor. Additionally, the worksheets also make it easy to organize all your information as well as ensure that everything necessary to attend and ride at a school is completed on time.

I like how the book emphasizes that school should take priority over horses; it reiterates that your academics (equestrian focused or otherwise) cannot be sacrificed. A series of questions in the book asks the rider to think critically about the advantages and disadvantages of having a horse at school. Horses can be a distracting time commitment, especially if you show your horse, as it will have to be ridden frequently. The book also warns students to think about the financial impact of keeping a horse at school.

The last section is a guide to schools that offer either equestrian teams (and list which associations they ride under) or equine majors. The guide is organized by state and allows the high school senior to easily identify the schools that best meet their needs. Another thing the book makes clear is that many colleges offer riding opportunities even though they don’t necessarily offer equine majors; you do not have to go to an equine school to continue to ride and compete.

The author of the High School Equestrian’s Guide to College Riding has made it just a little easier to not only choose and get into a college, but also to get the best equine experience out of it. The complicated process of finding a college that meets all of your educational needs is certainly compounded when you’re trying to bring your horse, continue your show career, or find opportunities to ride at college. With this guide in hand you'll have a better sense of not only what goals academic and equestrian goals are realistic, but also the best way to ensure that those goals are met.

As a graduating equine sciences major, I really wish I’d had this book during that confusing senior year of high school. If you have any interest in riding or working with horses in college, I recommend that you take a look at this book or visit the website and glance through the blog. With commitment, there is no reason why you cannot ride in college and this book should certainly get you pointed in the right direction.

The writers of College Riding 101 maintain a blog and an up to date database of schools offering collegiate riding and equine programs. This information can be found at CollegeRiding101.com.
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