Can you get a scholarship for horseback riding?

Can you get a scholarship for horseback riding

Horseback riding is a popular sport and hobby that has been around for centuries. It requires skill, dedication, and a deep love for horses. Many people dream of becoming professional horseback riders, but the cost of training and competing can be a major barrier. However, there is a way to make this dream a reality – through scholarships.

Yes, you read that right – there are scholarships available for horseback riding. In this article, we will explore the world of equestrian scholarships and answer the question – can you get a scholarship for horseback riding?

The Cost of Horseback Riding

Before we dive into the world of equestrian scholarships, let’s first understand the cost of horseback riding. It is no secret that this sport can be expensive, and it is not just the cost of buying a horse. There are many other factors that contribute to the overall cost, such as:

  • Training and lessons
  • Competition fees
  • Equipment and gear
  • Transportation for both the rider and the horse
  • Veterinary care
  • Boarding and stabling

According to a study by the American Horse Council Foundation, the average cost of owning a horse is around $3,876 per year. This does not include the initial cost of purchasing a horse, which can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for top-level competition horses.

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For those who are passionate about horseback riding, these costs can be daunting. This is where scholarships come in – they provide financial assistance to help cover the expenses of training and competing in this sport.

The Types of Equestrian Scholarships

There are various types of equestrian scholarships available, and they can be broadly categorized into two types – academic and athletic scholarships.

Academic Scholarships

Academic scholarships are awarded based on a student’s academic achievements, such as their GPA, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities. These scholarships are not specific to horseback riding, but they can be used to cover the costs associated with the sport.

For example, a student who excels academically may receive a scholarship to attend a university with an equestrian team. This scholarship would cover their tuition, room and board, and other expenses, allowing them to pursue their passion for horseback riding without worrying about the financial burden.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships, on the other hand, are specifically for students who excel in a particular sport, in this case, horseback riding. These scholarships are awarded by colleges and universities to recruit talented riders for their equestrian teams.

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There are also private organizations and foundations that offer athletic scholarships for horseback riding. These scholarships may cover the costs of training, competition fees, and other related expenses.

How to Get a Scholarship for Horseback Riding

Now that we know the types of equestrian scholarships available, let’s look at the steps you can take to increase your chances of getting one.

1. Start Early

If you are serious about getting a scholarship for horseback riding, it is essential to start early. This means starting your training at a young age and building a strong foundation of skills and experience. Many scholarship programs look for riders who have been competing and training for several years.

Starting early also gives you more time to research and apply for scholarships, as well as build relationships with coaches and trainers who can provide recommendations for your applications.

2. Focus on Your Academics

As mentioned earlier, academic scholarships can also be used to cover the costs of horseback riding. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain good grades and participate in extracurricular activities that showcase your academic abilities. This will not only make you eligible for academic scholarships but also make you a more attractive candidate for athletic scholarships.

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3. Participate in Competitions

Participating in horseback riding competitions is a great way to showcase your skills and experience to potential scholarship providers. It also allows you to network with coaches and trainers who may be able to recommend you for scholarships.

Make sure to participate in a variety of competitions, including local, regional, and national events. This will not only give you more exposure but also help you improve your skills and gain valuable experience.

4. Research Scholarship Opportunities

There are many scholarship opportunities available for horseback riding, but they may not always be easy to find. It is essential to do thorough research and keep an eye out for any new scholarship programs that may become available.

You can start by checking with your local equestrian organizations and clubs, as well as national organizations such as the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA). These organizations often have scholarship programs for their members.

You can also search for private organizations and foundations that offer equestrian scholarships. Some examples include the American Quarter Horse Foundation, the United States Pony Clubs, and the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association.

5. Prepare a Strong Application

Once you have identified the scholarship opportunities you want to apply for, it is crucial to prepare a strong application. This includes writing a compelling essay, providing letters of recommendation, and showcasing your achievements and experience in horseback riding.

Make sure to follow all the instructions and guidelines provided by the scholarship program and submit your application before the deadline. It is also a good idea to have someone else review your application to ensure it is error-free and presents you in the best possible light.

Success Stories

Now that we have covered the basics of equestrian scholarships, let’s look at some success stories of riders who have received scholarships for horseback riding.

1. Madison Goetzmann

Madison Goetzmann is a well-known name in the world of equestrian sports. She started riding at the age of five and has been competing since she was seven. In 2018, she received a full scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, where she is now a member of the school’s equestrian team.

Goetzmann has had a successful career as a junior rider, winning numerous championships and awards. She has also represented the United States in international competitions, including the FEI Jumping Nations Cup.

2. Kaitlin Campbell

Kaitlin Campbell is another rider who has received a scholarship for horseback riding. She received a full scholarship to attend Auburn University, where she was a member of the school’s equestrian team for four years.

Campbell has had a successful career as a junior rider, winning multiple championships and awards. She has also competed at the highest level of the sport, including the FEI World Equestrian Games.


In conclusion, the answer to the question – can you get a scholarship for horseback riding – is a resounding yes. Equestrian scholarships are available for both academic and athletic achievements, and they can help cover the costs of training and competing in this sport.

If you are passionate about horseback riding and dream of becoming a professional rider, don’t let the cost hold you back. Start early, focus on your academics, participate in competitions, research scholarship opportunities, and prepare a strong application. With dedication and hard work, you too can receive a scholarship for horseback riding and make your dream a reality.

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