Confessions of a Horse Show Mom: Lettering in equestrian

Did you know that the USEF has a program that enables high school students to earn a varsity letter for riding? Barbara Hamilton explains how her daughter took advantage of this neat opportunity.

From Barbara:

For years my daughter got grief from her friends because she didn’t play a sport. When she said she rode horses they would say “but the horse does all the work.” It used to make her so mad. When she went to high school it only increased. Why didn’t she play a real sport like lacrosse or crew?

Then one day I read on the USEF site that she could earn a varsity letter for riding.

“High school equestrians have earned their place among the most dedicated athletes,” shared John Long, USEF Chief Executive Officer. “Not only are they putting in long hours to train for and compete in the sport they love–they do so while taking the concept of teamwork to the highest level, forming a partnership with a horse to achieve their goals.

“Until now, most high school students haven’t had the opportunity to letter in equestrian, simply because there are so few school-sponsored programs,” Long continued. “We look forward to the beginning of a new tradition, where equestrians are able to earn the recognition they deserve, alongside their fellow athletes and classmates.”

My daughter was ecstatic. So far she’s earned two varsity letters–you need to complete 100 hours, which includes things like lessons, lunging and competitions. And you need to compete in three horse shows. All the information is available here.

After sending in your forms you’ll receive your certificate and letter. Then the fun begins–you’re given access to go and shop for all types of merchandise including a varsity jacket. My daughter got one and put her varsity letter on it. Now every year she gets a free patch and another pin.

It’s a great way for kids to get recognized for all the hard work and time they put into the sport.

Now when someone gives her a hard time about riding all she says is, “Do you have two varsity letters?” And that’s the end of that conversation.

 Emma wearing her varsity jacket

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