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Equestrian scholarships mean providing some financial aid of different amounts to a student advanced in equestrian sports. These scholarships are mostly designed to cover students’ college tuition fees. To get an equestrian sports scholarship, a student needs to have excellent athletic abilities and are willing to represent the college’s equestrian team in diverse local and national competitions. This article aims to cover the most popular existing scholarships in equestrian sports as well as the ways of getting them. 

Equestrian Sports Organization and Their Scholarships

Nowadays, Equestrian organizations of all sizes offer college scholarships in the United States. At the same time, there are two organizations that stand out from all others due to the number of available scholarships and the amounts of given funds: NCAA and NCEA. Both organizations are excellent in their attitude to applicants and scholarship winners. At the same time, NCEA can be chosen only by female athletes, while NCAA is open for both genders. In addition, there are more than only these two organizations that offer equestrian sports scholarships. Let’s have a closer look at them and what they offer:

1. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Scholarship

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is an American organization that regulates intercollegiate competitions and functions as an ultimate legislative authority. 

In addition, the NCAA team often provides some useful tips on the scholarship’s selection process and recruitment preparation. Many of these tips concern riding videos that applicants have to submit in order to participate in the selection. These videos have to show that a participant possesses remarkable skills and meets all standards of equestrian sport. In fact, these standards may be not only skills-oriented: an applicant’s attire and presentation skills are also taken into consideration. In fact, every equestrian style has its particularities. Therefore, an applicant’s attire has to be in alignment with the chosen equestrian style. 

Overall, NCAA offers equestrian programs (usually divided into smaller parts) and average athletic scholarships. The list of NCAA equestrian programs is quite vast and can be found on the NCAA official website. As a rule, NCAA equestrian programs have a limited number for every university where the scholarship tuitions are provided. At the same time, NCAA equestrian programs can provide many students in need with financial aid since the funds for these programs are divided into small parts. On the other hand, a scholarship winner cannot have a lot of figures in the received funds Overall, NCAA offers equestrian programs (usually divided into smaller parts) and average athletic scholarships. The list of NCAA equestrian programs is quite vast and can be found on the NCAA official website. As a rule, NCAA equestrian programs have limit numbers for every university where the scholarships tuitions are provided. At the same time, NCAA equestrian programs provide financial aid for many students in need since the funds for these programs are divided into small parts. 

As for the Average Athletic Scholarship, this scholarship program is not dedicated to equestrian sports only. In fact, this scholarship is designed to award athletes of all kinds of sports. The rewards are usually provided by a specific affiliate school. Furthermore, the size of rewards may vary: full awards and partial. It should also be noted that some sports can be fully funded, while others are partially supported, and, finally, there can be sports not receiving any athletic scholarships. In addition, the size of scholarships also depends on the amount of tuition. It goes without saying that private school scholarships have bigger rewards due to higher tuition compared to public schools.

2. NCEA (National Collegiate Equestrian Association) School Scholarship

 National Collegiate Equestrian Association or NCEA is an association that specializes in equestrian sports only: recruitment, competitions, equestrian sports events. It should be accentuated that the NCEA scholarship rewards tend to be larger in size compared to those provided by other organizations. At the same time, it is necessary to point out that this extreme generosity goes hand in hand with the difficulty of acquiring the reward.  The NCEA judges are known to be quite picky regarding grades, time spent in the saddle, etc. The most important criterion here is that the scholarship can be received by only female athletes. 

3. The US Equestrian Federation and the US Hunter Jumper Association Scholarships

These two organizations have extremely long and impressive list of all affiliate and organizations schools that can provide scholarships for talented students. In fact, these scholarships are considered to be too modest. However, every bit can help. As a rule, the scholarship amount varies from $2,500 to $5,000.

4. Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Scholarships

In total, Illinois High School Association scholarships include nine levels of competition. Unlike NCEA, IHSA scholarships are open to all athletes: gender and the hours in the saddle are not so crucial, let alone the academic requirements. This scholarship program can be very beneficial for those applicants who are intended to become professional equestrian sports trainers in the future. 

Scholarship requirements

 It should be noted that finding the right school has to be the priority here. A student needs to be able to envision his or her future in the chosen institution, regardless of scholarship opportunities. However, if an athlete’s family requires financial aid, an applicant has to meet the following requirements: 

  • To be a rider with impressive skills; 

This requirement includes being able to ride different kinds of horses and spending a lot of time training to perform different sorts of riding tricks and minimalize the time in the saddle. 

  • To have good or even excellent grades (may vary depending on a program);

The judges pay attention both to academic and athletic abilities. Therefore, even good athletes cannot go too far without getting good grades. According to Brian McGregor, the CEO of Pro-papers, more and more athletes address to academic writing websites since it is merely possible to juggle trainings and excellent academic achievements. 

  • To show great motivation and attitude;

Many scholarships ask students to film themselves and write a motivation letter to get a scholarship. Do your best to show that you have the right attitude to win. 

  • To conduct oneself well, to have good presentation skills. 

In competitions, the ability to present yourself in the best way will definitely help you to get the desired victory. 

  • Be a team player

An athlete has to join the school’s equestrian sports team and be able to demonstrate good skills of working together with other team members. 

As can be seen, there many organizations and associations that offer scholarships to equestrian sports athletes. The amount of these scholarships and their requirements may vary depending on an organization.