1. What kind of experience do I need for the team?
Past riding/show experience is a plus, but is not necessary. The show roster needs riders of all levels, and we have had riders who have done Grand Prix as well as riders who had never even been on a horse prior to team.
2. What type of riding does the team do?
We ride English in shows and lessons, but our riders come from all different backgrounds. If Only Farm is primarily a hunter/jumper barn but offers instruction in dressage and other disciplines as well. The IHSA is judged on equitation, so riders will be working on their position and a solid connection to their horse in lessons.
3. How do I first get started with the team?
During the first week of classes we will have a table at the organization fair. This is where you can ask more questions, talk with us in person, and write down your email. After this you will be invited to our information session in early September where you can sign up for tryouts and learn more about the team. Members are also welcome to join us during the spring semester, and can email the team account firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
4. Where do we ride and how do we get there?
The Ithaca College team practices at If Only Farm in Freeville, NY, which is about 20 minutes from the school. See www.ifonlyfarm.com for more information. We believe in the pay-it-forward method, so freshmen will always have a ride to lessons by upperclassmen; they will have to pay their drivers gas money. Once they have their own car on campus as a sophomore, junior, or senior, they may be required to drive others to lessons. This same concept applies to horse shows. Each Thursday before the weekend of a show we hold a meeting where we sign up to carpool to the show. You do not have to have a car. Do not worry (we love carpooling)!
5. What riding equipment do I need to bring to school?
Bring all riding gear that you have to college. We do ride in every sort of weather (given the road conditions are safe). This means we ride in the cold! Make sure your breeches are warm and you have tight-fitting clothing so we can see your position during lessons. If you have your own saddle, you are free to bring it, but know that you cannot ride in your own saddle at the horse shows. If you have never ridden, bring boots with an inch heel and comfortable jeans. If you decide to commit to the team you should buy yourself a dependable pair of riding pants and boots. Coaches can help you with this process.
6. What can I expect at tryouts?
After the information session, tryouts are scheduled for early September at If Only Farm. You should wear/bring your nicest (English) show gear, or whatever you have that's riding appropriate. New riders should wear show gear so the coach can make sure that what you have fits you correctly and is up to IHSA standards. For tryouts you will use the lesson horses in groups of about six and be asked to walk/trot/canter and possibly jump a few jumps (up to your skill level). After tryouts, you will hear about making the team within a week.
7. Are there team cuts?
Cuts are dependent on how many people try out for the team. The chance of cuts is slim because we do have non-competing members who can still be a part of the team. However, if there is a huge interest, there is a possibility of making team cuts. Returning members are not guaranteed a spot on the team and have to participate in tryouts alongside the new members.
8. How much does it cost to be a part of the team?
The cost of the team depends on how many lessons you choose to take. The school pays for most our additional fees such as show and hotel costs, but you are responsible for some as well (such as gas money for your driver to and from shows/lessons). Dues fluctuate semester, but for the fall of 2015 the cost was $550 for one lesson per week and $950 for two. This is a per semester fee, so expect to pay again in January. This includes the cost of your lessons as well as $50 team dues. There is also a $45 fee for becoming a member of the IHSA if you are on the show team. Other expenses include riding attire (if needed) and food at horse shows.
10. Can I be on the team but not show?
11. What is the team atmosphere like?
Keeping a positive team atmosphere is something that the officers, coaches, and barn members have worked very hard on. Positivity, team-inclusion, and respect are extremely important to us! It makes a huge difference in the way we ride as a team and individually when there is a strong team spirit in the air. We're a very close team and this helps in supporting one another.
12. Is there an on season?
Yes, all the time! The season starts within weeks of the beginning of school and ends just before winter finals. We start back up the first week of the spring semester and ride until mid-April. Nationals are usually the beginning of May so riders could potentially be riding until then.
13. When are shows and which do I attend?
The show schedule is usually six shows in the fall and two in the spring (not counting regionals, zones, or nationals). You will know after tryouts whether or not you will be on the show roster for the season, but the rides for each individual show are sent out about a week ahead of time. So, write down all of the dates at the informational meeting and keep in mind that you could potentially be showing on any of those weekends if you make it onto the roster! You can also see the schedule on our homepage for dates.
14. What is the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association standard for riding attire at shows?
If you have show attire then that is great, but it does have to uphold a certain standard. Many riders share their riding gear so if you don't have everything you need, don't worry. Your helmet must be ASTM and SEI certified. You will need a hairnet, belt, and black gloves. Your jacket should fit correctly and be either navy, grey, or black with a show shirt underneath. Your show shirt should be a subtle pastel, white with pinstripe, or solid white (preferred). Breeches should be a tan or beige color and fit snuggly. Tall boots that are high enough on your leg, fit snuggly but comfortably, and have a proper heel are required.
15. Where are shows and how do we get there?
Shows are currently at the Alfred University facility in Alfred, NY, Lehman Farms in Rochester, NY, and The Oxley Equestrian Center in Ithaca, NY. Upperclassmen will drive to the shows and all passengers will be required to pay gas money. The school will cover hotel fees.
16. How big is the commitment to the team?
A lot of your experience on the team depends on what you make of it. We have members who are out at the barn five days a week (attending lessons, helping with chores, hacking horses), and others who only attend their lessons. Commitment and professionalism is essential to being a part of the team, but there are some members who are more involved than others. That being said, all members are expected to participate in fundraising and bonding events when they do come up!