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Horseback Riding in College: Tips from Hope Chisar

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Written by Hope Chisar

College Team: The University of Findlay (Learn More)
State: Ohio
Year in College: Senior
Joined Team:  Freshman
Riding Discipline(s): Dressage

About Hope: I am from Avon Lake, Ohio and I am an English equine studies/ Business double major. I love riding, hanging out with my dog, and listening to music.

Collegiate Equestrian Interview

Q: What was your pre-college horse experience?

Hope-Chisar-ProfileI started riding dressage when I was eight years old and I just never stopped. I bought my first horse at 12 and spent almost every summer after that showing.

Q: What were equestrian team tryouts like?

My freshman year, I was absolutely terrified because I did not know anyone. But I did not need to feel that way! The upperclassmen were very helpful and even gave advice before we went in the ring. Overall, it is just a fun day where you can wear show clothes and take cute pictures with friends.

Q: Describe a typical week on the team.

Hope-Chisar-TeamWe try to practice at least once a week, where we ride a random horse in the program and get a lesson from one of our coaches. Home shows are my favorite, since we spend the whole day with our horses, grooming, tacking, and of course riding. At Findlay, we tend to go out to dinner together after a long show day and just hang out.

Q: What type of riding did you choose and why?

I mainly ride dressage, but I have done some show jumping as well. I just love the connection with my horses and how goal oriented the dressage world is. If you can truly flat, then you can pretty much ride anything.

horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: What are some challenges of balancing academic and equestrian responsibilities?

Hope-Chisar-CanterSometimes there are not enough hours in the day. I am often at the barn working on homework in between horses, or packing a lunch instead of heading back to campus. It’s easy to find time to fit things in once you get your schedule down.

Q: What’s one “rookie mistake” you made?

The main rookie mistake I made was buying my current horse. I did not know much when I bought her and I trusted my trainer to pick one out. She could ride the horse, but I certainly could not.

My advice would be to really know yourself, the horse, your limitations, and the horses limitations before buying a horse.

Q: What have horses taught you?

Horses have taught me everything. Patience, joy, sorrow, and emotional control are all things that immediately come to mind.

Q: If you could travel back in time to your first day on the team and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Calm down. Everyone is nice and there is a place for all levels of riders.

Q: Why should students join a college equestrian team?

If you love horses and want to continue riding while at college, then you should join. You will certainly make friends, both human and horse.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDUJJ3Z7A4E]
horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: What’s one piece of gear you can’t live without?

My tall boots. I saved up for two semesters and bought a pair of custom tall boots. I can ride 10 horses and clean stalls in them and my feet are never sore.

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About the author

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Hope Chisar

I am from Avon Lake, Ohio and I am an English equine studies/ Business double major. I love riding, hanging out with my dog, and listening to music.