By Laura Killian
Hi all! I'm Laura, your Past President. I put this blog together to help you learn more about the riding opportunities available after you graduate from high school and, in some cases, from the youth division. Though my experience isn't the same as yours will be, I hope you'll still gain some valuable information from my story! You can find more info through the links throughout the post.
The Penn State Dressage Club was founded in 2010, my first year as a college student. It offers undergraduates the opportunity to take dressage lessons at Standing Ovation Equestrian Center, attend clinics, participate in community service projects, and compete with other colleges in Region C Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) shows. My parents have always supported my riding goals and understood my need for barn time, but I had to prove that I would be able to balance my studies and other activities before I could bring my own horse to college. By being a member of the dressage team, I was able to get my horse fix during my weekly lesson. And trust me, as a Marketing major and Equine Science minor, I needed that barn time more than ever between classes and homework to relieve stress.
When you start college it is important to get involved and find a group of people that you can connect with to make the transition easier. Being a part of a collegiate riding team gave me hose activities to look forward to on the weekends such as sleepover at team members' houses the night before IDA shows, road trips to horse expos, clinics with many insightful trainers, volunteering at animal shelters and preparing for our annual show. During the weekdays, I always loved taking a break from my studies for horse-talk time at our meetings. There aren't too many people who want to talk about dressage with me between classes in the business building! But when I would attend my Equine Science classes, I got to chat with many of my teammates.
I believe that involvement with a collegiate riding team, or any horse club on campus, will certainly improve your college experience if you love horses like I do. Any undergraduate student, regardless of previous horseback riding experience, is encouraged to join Penn State Dressage. We have had some team members that have never ridden before, many that were converting from another discipline to dressage and a few that have competed extensively through the upper levels of dressage. If you'd like to learn more about the team, check us out on Facebook or feel free to contact me! If you'd like to support our program, please consider donating to Penn State Dressage.
About the Author
Laura Killian is the 2012-2013 AHYA Past President and served as President 2011-2012. She is currently a junior at Pennsylvania State University, studying both Business Marketing and Equine Science.