As someone who’s LLC is actually called “The Equestrian College Advisor,” you can imagine that the bulk of the questions I get from students and parents have to do with the recruitment process for intercollegiate riding teams – both for the NCEA and the IHSA. And perhaps more than any other (more traditional) college athletic programs, equestrian teams seem to have the deepest mystique around them when it comes to coach contacts, recruitment processes, and how one actually winds up on a college riding team in the end.
The shortest answer I can typically muster is: “It depends.”
As you can imagine, readers, whether my response is accurate or not (it is, thank you), it’s not always helpful for nervous families embarking on the process. What’s more, I’m not now (nor have I ever been) an intercollegiate coach, so despite my many contacts in the coaching world (plus nearly two decades of enrollment experience – but who’s counting?), I may or may not be viewed as an expert in the field, depending on my audience.
The guy I talked to last Monday night is, however, just such an expert. Chris Mitchell has coached and recruited students for more years than he cares to count at schools like Cornell University and most recently at Randolph College. He’s also a member of the IHSA board and currently works for USHJA as manager of jumper programs. Thus, when he talks about the recruiting process for prospective intercollegiate equestrians, you can take him at his word. (I always do!)
Here’s our full conversation:
Need help with the search for your right fit college and a great intercollegiate equestrian experience? Contact me or pick up a copy of my book to guide your search. (Hint: The book makes a wonderful holiday gift for the high school rider in your life!)