Below are frequently asked questions (FAQ). If you find that you still have questions left unanswered, please contact us at:
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How do lessons work?
Once all riders are signed up for the semester, we organize everybody into weekly (or biweekly if you choose) lesson groups based on skill level. Each group usually has 3-4 but no more than 5 riders, and lessons take place on once a week on designated days.
Each semester, riders must each pay $490 to the Yale Equestrian team. This includes lesson fees for 10 lessons and transportation.
Since Yale doesn’t have its own barn, we ride at Shoreline Equestrian Center, which is located 15 minutes away in Milford, CT. Thus, we must pay their coaches for every lesson. Additionally, we organize transportation ourselves to and from the barn. Most students don’t have their own car, so we have a student deal with Zipcar. Each lesson group has a designated driver, who is in charge of reserving the Zipcar and driving their groups to and from the barn. These make up the costs per semester.
What levels of riding do you offer?
We accept riders of all levels, and compete mostly in English hunt seat equitation levels. These levels are (from beginner to advanced):
- Beginner Walk-Trot-Canter
- Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter
- Novice flat and fences (2’6”) [beginner jump]
- Intermediate flat and fences (2’9”) [intermediate jump]
- Open flat and fences (3’) [advanced jump]
In terms of lessons, riders are organized into lesson groups based on their ability at the beginning of the semester. We try our best to group people in lessons that match everyone’s abilities as close as possible (e.g. we will not place walk-trot beginners with advanced jumpers). For more on lessons, click here.
Do you recruit?
No. We do not, have never, and will never recruit anyone to be on the equestrian team. You are only able to join the team once you are registered as a member of Yale University.
Additionally, we also do not have any contact with the Yale Admissions Office, so even if you are an absolutely exceptional rider, we are unable to put in a word for your application. (It is also rumored that contacting the Admissions Office on behalf of an applicant–even if it is an esteemed professor or coach that does so–has little or even negative effect on your application to Yale.)
Please do not contact us with any questions regarding recruitment. We are a club sports team and do not compete at the varsity level; thus, it is not possible for us to recruit anybody. Thank you.
What about equipment?
While barns will almost always provide all the equipment their horses need and lesson helmets for the riders, riders often buy their own gear, and competitions require a certain uniform.
For lessons, riders need a snugly-fitting helmet and boots with a flat, at least 2” heel. They can also buy their own crop if necessary, although barns will usually provide them. Also recommended are breeches, although for lessons riders can simply wear form-fitting, comfortable pants such as jeans.
For competitions, riders need a show helmet (often velvety), a form-fitting jacket, a show shirt, breeches, show boots that extend almost to the knee, riding gloves, and their own crop if preferred.
Equipment can be bought at local tack shops–ask your barn for any recommendations–or online. For online shopping, we highly recommend Dover Saddlery for their price and quality.
In addition to formal riding equipment, the Yale Equestrian Team sells its own team gear every year. In the past we have offered jackets, vests, knee-socks, and more.
What are competitions like?
For official rules and regulations of competitions, please visit the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) website here, while nationwide results for horse shows can be accessed here. In summary:
In order to create a fair playing field, IHSA competitions are based on “catch riding,” with riders drawing a horse provided by the host school. Riders are judged on their position and control of their mounts. Riders are not allowed to practice on their horses before entering the ring. Competitors are awarded points depending on how they finish in the class, with a first place finish receiving the most points. No points are awarded after sixth place. Riders who acquire 35 points in their divisions advance to the next level of competition and become eligible to compete in the annual regional show. Successful riders at the regional show may then advance to the zone show and, if successful there, the national show.
At Yale, this year we have been able to make competitions free of any entry fees! About a week prior to each competition, we must register any rider who is interested in competing and organize transportation to and from. Each competition can last most of the day, but depending on the participating riders and the levels they are competing in, the riders can arrive or leave as they feel fit.
Where can I stay up-to-date on YET news?
The best way to keep up with YET happenings, whether they are announcements of winners at a competition or awesome photos, is to like our Facebook page! We generally post a few times a week with lists of upcoming competitions and announcing winners.
Otherwise, you can check out our News tab, although it will be less frequently updated.