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Combining horses with university

While many people choose to sell their horse when the time comes to go to university, this is not the only option open to the young horse owner.

To loan or not to loan?

You might consider loaning your horse out for the duration of your study, but do think carefully before choosing this option.

You may find it more harrowing to watch someone else reap the success of all your hard work, or you may feel they are not looking after the horse, as well as you would yourself.

Otherconcerns include losing the horse altogether. A large number of horses have gone missing recently while out on loan.

If you do choose to loan your horse, then make sure you check out the home thoroughly and get a written loan agreement signed and agreed by both parties.

Alternatively, you may be able to take your horse with you, or you may be able to study locally and keep your horse.

Student riding clubs

An alternative way of staying horsey at university is to join the student union riding club. Most student unions have societies and sports clubs. If there isn’t already a riding club, then why not rally some support and start one yourself?

  • The union will probably state a minimum requirement of 10 people to start a club.
  • The riding club should be subsidised by the student union, so group lessons will be cheaper.
  • Organise weekly meetings to plan equestrian events and social activities.
  • There may be a small joining fee to cover expenses.

    Work for rides

  • Write to riding schools offering to work in return for riding lessons – you may even find yourself a part time job.
  • Work part-time in a saddlers. Although you won’t be working directly with horses, you will be mixing with horseowners who may be able to offer work for rides.

    Join the BHS

    The BHS can offers advice and experience on all aspects of horsemanship, and aims to bring together like-minded people.

    The BHS also offers money-saving discounts, free publications and will keep you informed of equestrian news and developments, and you don’t have to be a horseowner to join.

  • Contact the BHS (tel: 01926 707700).

    Short courses

  • Agricultural colleges often hold short courses throughout the summer, covering all aspects of stable management, animal welfare and riding skills.
  • Speak to your local college to get a list of courses and costs. Make enquiries as soon as you can as places are always in demand.
  • Contact the Animal Care Equine Training Agency (tel: 01785 227 399).

    Horse share

    You may be able to find a horse which is availabled on a shared basis close to your university – look outfor requests for help on saddlers and riding school notice boards.

    Always make sure you discuss the arrangement carefully. Make sure you know if it is it just a casual agreement where you will exercise the horse in return for work, or whether you will be expected to contribute to costs?

    Work on riding holidays

    During the summer, companies such as PGL require students to help with their activity centres. Part of the camp includes a riding school, so there is the opportunity for you to work and ride.

    You will be paid a small wage and have accommodation provided, but you will be expected to work long, hard hours. Competition for places is tough so apply early in the year.

  • Contact (tel: 01989 767833).

    Home study courses

    The Open College of Equine Studies offer a range of home study courses for all abilities, with a high level of support and continual assessment. The courses are quite expensive and you may require practical experience togain the qualification.

  • Contact (tel: 01284 728867).

    Post graduate and further training courses

    Providing you have maintained as much practical experience with horses as possible, your degree subject should not preventyou from obtaining a good position in the equine industry.

    Any courses and training you have already will help you to find further training.

  • The National Stud runs a training course designed for students who have both theoretical and practical experience and an equine related degree is not necessary. (tel: 01638 663464).
  • The British Horseracing Board offer a limited number of yearly placements for their graduate-development program. Every university careers office is mailed with course details in November. (tel: 01638 560743).
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