Summer means sunshine, horseback riding and long show days. But for some new high school grads, summer also brings the question of whether or not to bring a horse to college in the fall. I chose to bring my horse, Buckshot, to college with me, 375 miles away from home. That was possibly the best choice I ever made. Here’s why bringing your horse to college with you might be as well.
1. It teaches you responsibility and time management.
Since the first day I dropped Buckshot off at the college barn in August 2013, I have been responsible for this 1,000-pound animal two states away from home. He needs shoes, shots, feed, exercise, proper nutrition and so much more. You have to plan ahead for bills and time invested in riding/training. Between homework, jobs and friends, I have to manage my time very carefully. That’s a lot of responsibility that I would have never experienced without having a horse here.
2. It gives you a way to become involved in the community.
I mean, hello! You have a horse! You’re going to need connections for farriers, vets and just general know-how. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the perfect barn family that will be willing to help you make these connections. Don’t be afraid to make personal relationships with your barn owner and other boarders. Because of my barn family, I now have the perfect internship and job and more connections to the community than the average college student. My college town now feels like home because of the closeness I have with the people there.
3. You make friends on campus!
If you’ve never received odd looks from strangers before in your life, just ride a horse around a campus full of college students. During a free afternoon period I had, I rode Buck from the barn to campus. We even met a whole class that was being held outside that day. College students don’t often get the chance to see animals in their day-to-day lives, and there are studies showing that interacting with animals lowers stress levels. Riding a horse around will be a guaranteed way to open up conversations and you never know who you’ll meet.
4. It provides you with alone time.
If you’re like me, you will at some point need some time by yourself. College students are constantly surrounded by people, even when you’re in your room. Everyone needs time to relax and have some peace and quiet. I can’t even begin to stress how helpful being able to go out to the barn to get away during finals week has been. Everyone needs a break from the world; why not take it surrounded by animals?
5. It keeps you in shape.
Don’t believe me that horseback riding is exercise? By grooming your horse for 10 minutes, you’ll burn around 50 calories. Riding at a trot for 10 minutes burns an average of 74 calories, and that’s not counting a posting trot! Loping for 10 minutes burns 93 calories. So if you ride for 20 minutes at a trot and canter, you’ve burned 167 calories. If you chase your horse for a hour, you’ve torched about 550 calories. If you have a hard to catch horse, just look at it this way . . . you’re getting in shape!
What have you learned from having a horse at college with you?
Breanna Bartlett is a senior at Taylor University majoring in public relations. With her 13+ years of horseback riding knowledge, she plans on combing her love of horses with her love of helping people to work in equestrian public relations. More of her freelance writing and photography can be seen on her blog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.