Equestrian Scholarship Guidance
How to Put Yourself in the Running for the Equestrian College Education
of Your Dreams
By Lori Teresa Yearwood
Two young women stand in the practice arena. Few years separate them. Yet already,
one of them is a professional trainer, rider and teacher. Thanks to a solid college
education, she is living her dreams. The other, a USEF jumper on the A circuit,
longs to be a professional equestrian. But self-confidence eludes her. "I know I
can do better," she tells her teacher with a frown. Seventeen, the young woman
hopes to earn the kind of scholarship and college experience the other has earned.
Day after day, the two come to this Illinois barn to practice. And day after day,
Laura Baldine tells her student the very truths that won her the scholarship that
paved the way to the life she now has.
"Remember, you are not just a number. There are always people who will turn you
down. But if you don’t keep trying, you won’t get to where you want to go,"
Baldine said to the younger woman.
Every year, thousands of equestrian students across the country apply for
admission to colleges so that they can put their passion, knowledge and skills
to use in the profes-sional horse world. Along the way, thousands receive
financial assistance. After over-coming rejection and battling her own self
doubt, Baldine, who nailed down an annual $8,000 academic scholarship at Findlay
University in Ohio, refers to herself as "one of the lucky ones."
"That money really helped my family with tuition," she said.
Indeed, countless college applicants would never be able to afford the costs of
college tuition—which now averages up to $30,000 per year for a private four-year
college—without scholarships. So perhaps "luck" did somehow play a role in
Baldine’s success. But that luck would have gotten her nowhere if she had not
been prepared to be in the right place at the right time, which to some people,
is the very definition of luck.
Regardless, in today’s world of rising tuition costs, boarding and housing costs,
the road to an equestrian scholarship is paved with planning and preparation.