REVIEW by Camille Matthews, Author of Quincy the Horse Books

I recently met Sloane Milstein, the founder of the website, College Riding 101 and author of a great guide for high school students and their families. Sloane is presenting at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio this weekend.

The High School Equestrian’s Guide to College Riding by Sloane Milstein.

These days I am more focused on young horse lovers at the elementary school level but in a former life I was the parent of a competing equestrian child.  I recently came upon a wonderful resource for teens who are college bound equestrians and for their families.  The book is The High School Equestrian’s Guide to College Riding by Sloane Milstein. Milstein has created a detailed, well-designed guide that is full of information, resources and her own personal wisdom gleaned from years of experience in the equestrian field.

The first word I would use to describe this book is COMPREHENSIVE.  Milstein has included an unbelievable amount of information and truly delivers on the promise of a complete guide. She discusses the varied goals and motivations of students seek in equestrian activities in college and breaks these down into three categories, the competitive equestrian, the equestrian enthusiast wanting a recreational and social experience, and the equestrian major or minor going for a career in the equine industry or healthcare field. She covers everything from the types of programs available, lists of colleges and universities with equestrian programs and equine majors, national governing bodies, academic qualifications needed, the recruitment process, interview questions, college essay prompts, scholarships and grants. The list is extensive. She even demystifies financial aid procedures.

If this is sounding a little overwhelming, it is good to know that the other main characteristic of The High School Equestrian’s Guide to College Riding is that it is well organized and readable and will engage the student in a HANDS ON PROCESS that promotes self awareness, goal setting, setting priorities and establishing an action plan by direct suggestions, timelines and templates. It is not surprising to learn that Milstein is a NCAA Division I Varsity Equestrian Coach because her book is a tour de force of coaching for both the students whom she wants to empower and the parents she wants to inform. This is all about developing coping skills, work habits and mature judgment. I love her “Tips” which are highlighted bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout the sections.

Milstein creates a SUCCESS ORIENTED ENVIRONMENT for her readers. She begins by making “college riding” a very inclusive concept and not at all slanted to the cohort who are looking to participate at the most competitive level, though she certainly provides an excellent pathway to success for those who hope to be formally recruited. She also explains the options available to students who love horses and may not have had the means and chance to participate in formal equestrian activities in high school, noting that participation in college riding programs is not tied to “financial status or riding level.” A major theme is self-assessment and understanding “what is right for you” regardless of what individual needs and hopes a student has. She even explores possible internal roadblocks, common mistakes and what to do if it does not work out and a student considers transferring to another school modeling what to do if things do not work out as planned.

The best thing for horses is to have a steady stream of engaged, passionate, skilled and successful young industry professionals. This guide is a great contribution to that goal.

SLOANE MILSTEIN is currently making presentations in a variety of venues and has a blog and Facebook Page.

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About Pathfinder Pursuits

Camille is a licensed clinical social worker and writer. She is the author of the Quincy the Horse children's books.
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