What equestrian sports does OCET offer?
OCET offers two different styles of riding: hunt seat equitation and western horsemanship/reining. We take lessons for both of these divisions at Equine Differences. Some of our members have experience in these disciplines, and others have backgrounds in eventing, saddleseat, barrel racing, and other disciplines. Oberlin College also offers the opportunity to ride dressage, but they operate as a separate team from OCET. Please contact the current Dressage team president at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How do I become a part of OCET?
It's as easy as signing up! We have a general interest meetings at the start of every semester where all of our members sign up. You must attend one of these meetings or contact a team officer if you cannot attend. While joining the team early in the semester is ideal, you may be able to join at other times. Being a team member can be as little or as much of a commitment as you want. Commitments can range from taking lessons a couple times a month to going to every show and becoming an officer (which looks great on a resume!).
The only requirements are:
- Eligibility to participate in club sports (full-time Oberlin student)
- A one-time yearly team fee (usually about $30)
- A physical with the club sports physician
- A free evaluation ride, offered at the beginning of each semester, so that we can place you in an appropriate lesson
- A signed liability release form
As a member, you can take riding lessons at Equine Differences, a stable located just a couple of miles outside of Oberlin, and come to team bonding events. We also offer optional competitions in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) for riders, beginning through advanced.
Can I join if I have never ridden before?
Absolutely! We welcome riders of all levels for both lessons and showing. In fact, we need more beginner riders to compete, so please consider joining! Horses are something that we are all very passionate about, and we really want everyone to get to experience what we do. College is a great time to try new things. Even riders who have been riding for years can find new things to do, by switching disciplines - quite a few of our Hunt Seat riders have become accomplished Western riders!
How much does it cost to be a part of OCET?
Riding is an expensive sport, but we try to keep costs down as much as possible. All team members must pay the team dues (a one-time per year fee, usually about $30). Semi-private, hour long lessons cost $35. Private, 30-minute lessons are available first-come, first-served for the same price. You may take as many or as few lessons per semester as you want. However, if you choose to show with the team, you are required to take at least two lessons per month.
Due to the generosity of Oberlin's Club Sports Council, we are able to provide all showing costs for free - registration fees, entry fees, even transportation and hotel rooms. So we greatly encourage you to ride and show in college - in many ways, this is the least expensive riding that you will ever be able to experience. Our team is really committed to making riding and showing accessible to as many people as possible.
Do I need my own equipment?
All team members must have hard-soled boots with a heel. If they are not specifically made for riding, your instructor can advise you on whether they are acceptable and help you find an alternative if they are not. If you will be taking regular lessons, we advise that you purchase an ASTM/SEI approved helmet (we do have some available to borrow, but they must remain at the barn). If you are only planning on taking lessons, a black helmet is not required - sometimes it can be less expensive to buy non-show acceptable helmets, and we can provide show helmets for use on show days. The team is also able to provide show shirts and jackets to all riders for use on show weekends.
If you plan to show with the team, please bring as much show equipment as you have when you first move in because the first show is usually before fall break. It is helpful to have your own wardrobe, but it is not required. The team does have equipment you can borrow. Proper show attire for hunt seat is beige breeches, tall black field boots, neutral-colored show shirt with a collar, dark-colored show jacket, approved helmet (either black velvet or with a black velvet cover), and black gloves. Proper show attire for western is horsemanship shirt, dark-colored pants, show chaps, western boots, and a hat.
Do I need my own car?
No, one of the perks of being on a team is that we guarantee a ride to your lesson. This requires a lot of coordination and depends on a number of members having cars, so if you have a car and are willing to help drive, that's super! If not, be sure to be respectful to your driver--be on time and call if you are going to miss a lesson.
Unfortunately we are not able to offer rides to the barn for you to ride your own horse outside of lessons, but we can help you coordinate finding a ride with someone who is going to the barn anyway. It is very helpful to have your own car if you will be bringing your horse to Oberlin to have more riding flexibility and to deal with emergencies, but everyone who owns a horse tends to carpool.
How much of a time commitment is OCET?
As much or as little as you want. Most people take lessons weekly or every two weeks, and each lesson is about a 2-hour time commitment (an hour of riding and an hour of tacking up, warming up, cooling out, and untacking). Hunt seat shows are a weekend long affair--depending on the location of the show, we may leave Friday evening or early Saturday morning and return to Oberlin Sunday evening, or drive to and from the show on both Saturday and Sunday. Western shows are usually only one day, and the team may leave either Friday evening or early Saturday morning and return Saturday evening. The shows usually last all day, but there is plenty of "downtime" to work on homework. There's even wi-fi at most of our competitions! The hunt seat and western teams usually each participate in 2-3 shows per semester (sometimes first semester has more shows than second). You can pick and choose which ones you want to attend, or go to all of them. We will ask you to commit several weeks before a show and you are expected to stick to that or be prepared to reimburse the team for your nonrefundable entry fees. Most of our members are very busy with other activities, and some even play a varsity sport.
Can I bring my own horse to Oberlin?
Equine Differences has stalls available for students on a first-come, first-served basis. Please get in touch with them as early as possible to reserve a stall. Other local barns may have spots open as well. Even if you bring your own horse, you may be asked to ride school horses in lessons occasionally if you want to show with the team. It's important to be able to ride all different types of horses if you want to do well on the IHSA circuit.
How does showing work?
OCET competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). IHSA shows work differently from most other horse shows. Horses are provided by the host school (occasionally other schools bring additional horses) and everyone is assigned a horse randomly for each class. You can watch your assigned horse go in classes before yours and in warm-ups, but you have no warm-up time. You get on, adjust your stirrups, and then go into the ring and compete! It can be a little nervewracking, but it levels the playing field so that riders who can afford nice horses don't have an advantage--you have to be able to ride any horse well! Experienced team members get to know the host school's horses and can give you advice. The IHSA offers classes from walk/trot beginners to jumping and reining for more advanced students. You start out in a level determined by your level of show experience and you can "point up" to higher divisions over the years. Every time you point up, you qualify for regionals, and the top two riders in each division at regionals goes on to zones, and the top two at zones go to nationals. We compete both as a team and individually, and our team usually places at the top among the small liberal arts schools in our region. Shows are a lot of fun and a great way to get to know the team. Even if you don't think you want to compete, tag along with the team sometime and see if you like it- we can always use a cheering section!