1. What kind of experience do I need for the team? Do I have to have show experience?
a. Past riding experience/show experience is a plus but not necessary. The show roster needs riders with less than 28 weeks of experience so all levels are welcome. We have riders who have done grand prix, to riders who had never even been on a horse prior to team. Try to have an idea of your show experience and show placings before you come to school so you can be placed in the correct division.
2. What type of riding does the team do?
a. We ride English in shows and lessons but our riders come from all different backgrounds. We have had a rodeo princess, a grand prix jumper, and a saddleseat rider all in one lesson. The farm we ride at is primarily Hunter/Jumper with a few dressage riders. The IHSA is judged on Equitation so in lessons riders will be working on their position and a solid connection to the horse.
3. How do I first get started with the team?
a. During the first week of classes we will have a spot at the organization fair. Here is where you can ask more questions, talk with us in person, and write down your email. After this you can attend our information session in early September where you sign up for try-outs and learn more about the team.
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. Same sort of idea goes for horse shows: we'll have a meeting before the weekend of a show and there we will sign up for carpooling to that weekend's show. You do not have to have a car, do not worry (we love carpooling)!
5. What do I bring to school as far as riding?
a. 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 do remember 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 do tryouts involve?
a. After the information session, tryouts are scheduled to be early in September out at If Only Farm. Tryouts usually fall on a Tuesday/Wednesday night depending on schedules. You should wear/bring your nicest (English) show gear or whatever you have that's riding appropriate. We ask that you wear show gear because we want to make sure that what you have fits you correctly and is up to IHSA standards. You will use the lesson horses in groups of about six and be asked to walk/trot/canter and maybe do a fence or two (up to your skill level). After tryouts, you will hear about making the team within a week.
7. Are there team cuts?
a. Cuts on the team are dependent on how many people try out for the team. The chance of cuts is slim because we do have a “show team” and a “non-show” team but if there is a huge turnout then there is a possibility. Returning members are not guaranteed a spot on the team and have to participate in tryouts alongside the new members.
8. How is the team divided after tryouts?
a. We have developed a “show” and “non-show” team division after the enormous interest that we have had in the team in the last few years. “Show” team members will be required to be a part of all team functions including fundraising and evening meetings. They also have to attend every show regardless of being on the roster that day or not. “Non-show” members will not be required to do as much and will not be required to attend shows but they are more than welcome to go!
9. How much does it cost to be a part of the team?
a. The cost of the team depends on how many lessons you choose to take. The school pays for a lot of our additional fees such as show costs and hotel costs, but you are responsible for some as well. We have managed a cost cutting method for the IC team so that they can save some money but still ride frequently. We have lesson packages that are paid for at the beginning of the year based on the number of lessons per week. If you are taking two lessons a week expect to pay between $600 and $800. If you are taking one lesson a week expect to pay between $300 and $500. This is a per semester fee, so expect to pay again in January. Additional lessons are $45 dollars.
b. Other expenses include riding attire (if needed) and food for horse shows.
10. Can I be on the team but not show?
a. Yes! This is another reason why we created the “non-show” team. Those who express a love for riding but are not interested in showing can then be a part of a team.
11. What is the team atmosphere like?
a. 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?
a. 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?
a. The show schedule is usually six shows in the fall and two in the spring (not counting regionals, zones, or nationals). “Show team-members” are required to go to all shows even if they are not riding. See the schedule for those dates.
14. What is the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association standard for riding attire at shows?
a. 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?
a. Shows are currently at the Alfred University facility in Alfred, NY, at Lehman Farms in Rochester, NY, and at The Oxley Equestrian Center in Ithaca, NY. Upperclassmen will drive to the shows and all passengers will be required to pay gas money and dinner costs. The school will cover hotel fees.
16. How big is the commitment to the team?
a. The team is a very big commitment but flexible with schedules. Meetings are mandatory, practice attendance is mandatory unless given a 24 hour notice prior to your lesson, and horse shows are also mandatory (for the "show" team). Team spirit and moral is to be upheld both inside and outside of riding. By taking the team seriously and working hard we have the power to excel and win competitions, which essentially makes the team more fun. We do not appreciate “flakey” personalities or people who cannot make the team a very high priority.