Briar’s High School had their college fair last week. We were excited to attend and meet with what we thought was going to be an event with several college recruiters. When we arrived, we quickly learned that the majority of college presenters where community colleges and a few Universities. It was clearly a state college recruiting event.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe every opportunity to advance your education, save money on tuition and find the right path for your child is the right choice. However, I was disappointed that it was a state focus event and I feel they should have provided the students with a broader view of what is out there for them. I’m sure it is hard to get other colleges to come, but it would’ve been nice to see several different colleges and have an opportunity to talk with them.
The night however was not a total lost, New Mexico State was there. They were the only University with an NCAA -sanction equestrian team at the event and the recruiter was informative and helpful. NMSU is not on Briar’s list of schools, she would like to attend, however, it is a school she is going to look at. They offer AZ residents WUE status (Western Undergraduate Exchange) which means tuition is the same as a New Mexico resident would be paying. They are in my home state and their pre-season ranking is currently 9. Based on this information we plan on touring and hopefully getting a tour of the equine program (fingers cross we will see a coach). If anything, we will come away with more knowledge of how things work and what we need to do to get on an equestrian team.
The recruiter was surprised how prepared we were, so we are at least on the right track. There are so many rules, expectations, and stuff to muck through that I was glad to hear we are on the right track. Based on that, it looks like I’m doing my part as a parent, now it’s on Briar to keep up grades and ride her butt off to get there.
I’ll never forget when Briar came to me and asked to quit dance. She was dancing competitively since age 4 and at age six she was dancing 4 nights a week for about 3hrs each night. She would then have events or competitions on the weekend our during the week. We lived and breathed dance, it was a wonderful experience that had finally come to an end. She was burned out and wanted to try something else. So she said Horses!
Well, I knew nothing about horses, nothing! But, I thought it must be cheaper then dance and I would regain some “me” time. So, I went on this search for horseback riding lessons. I went through many trainers. But, that experience lead us to competitions and ownership. Now we live and breath horses. I have a little more “me” time but I actually gained a lot more quality time with Briar and we love every minute of it.
Horseback riding is so much more then the act of riding. Riding provides exercise and freedom that only a rider can understand. It gives the child a sense of power that translates into self confidence. It puts them in control of a part of their life that helps them solve problems and release pre-teen frustrations. Anyone who rides will tell you it takes self control, perseverance, patience, problem solving skills ,strength and a will to never give up, because horses have a mind of their own and training them takes skill.
Horse shows provide another set of skills. They learn to prepare and care for the horses during the shows. They learn to socialize with others and create lasting friendships. They learn what constructive criticism is and what not so constructive criticism feels like. But, that’s okay, because they learn life is not always fair. They learn how to present themselves and be judged.
This kind of exposure creates well rounded, talented, hardworking, strong kids that understand there is more to the world then just themselves.
It can be a dangerous sport, but all sports have their risks. With proper training and the use of safety equipment it is safe and rewarding. I encourage everyone to at least ride once and get a glimpse of that freedom.
Please share your thoughts on kids and riding or what you love about riding.