Information For Freshman​​​​

Congratulations and welcome to The University of Findlay!

UF's Equestrian Studies program utilizes a hands-on approach to learning, designed to give you the most practical experience that will translate to the equestrian industry.  Below you will find important information about the western program and our expectations of you as an western equestrian student.

Student Requirements:

  • Working three (3) weekends per semester.

    • In order to get paid, you will be required to fill out paperwork during the first week of classes. You must bring your drivers license (or alternate form of photo I.D.) and your original, hard copy signed social security card (a copy of your social security card will not be accepted).

    • Students will be paid for 2 work weekends each semester.

  • General chores around the barn, including, but not limited to: stall cleaning, sweeping, cobwebbing and cleaning buckets, walls and drains.

  • Rotation of feeding chores for all horses on the property.

  • Taking and logging your horse's temperature daily.

  • Adhere to the barn  dress code at all times while at the barn.

  • Occasionally unload and stack hay during assigned times or during work weekends. 

Items you need to submit to The University of Findlay:

Additional Information

Physical fitness expectations:

Performance horse guidelines universally state that no sport horse should carry more than 20% of its own body weight.  The breed of the horse and rider's ability level also come into play when assessing what is a reasonable amount of weight for a horse to carry.  We, therefore, conduct physical assessments at the beginning of each academic year, with the above guidelines in mind.  Please see specifics of the Rider Entrance Standards.  Riders will be assigned horses capable of carrying the appropriate amount of weight, and could be on reduced work load until they pass the physical assessment.

You will be tested on the following criteria:

  • -Sit-ups with arms crossed over chest, knees bent & without a foot holder. (minimum of 30 in 1-minute 30 seconds).
  • -Push-ups from knees or toes (minimum of 30 in 1-minute 30 seconds).
  • -1-mile run (maximum time of 11 minutes).

All tests are on a pass/fail basis.

Fitness tests are given for the safety and well-being of the rider as well as the comfort of the horse in the Western Equestrian Program. Students who are unable to pass the entire fitness test will be prohibited from participating in all activities at the barn except classroom lectures and observing. This restriction also applies to personal horses boarded at UF.
Students will not receive credit for riding or barn grades until the entire fitness test is passed and physical exam forms are on file.

We encourage everyone to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.


Dress Code and Classroom Etiquette:

The dress code for the Western Equestrian Studies Program will be as follows:

  • No facial piercings (no eyebrow or nose rings).
  • Jewelry and earrings are to be kept simple and to a minimum.
  • No shirts with less than 2-inch shoulder straps (no "spaghetti" straps or camisoles).
  • All jeans must be loose enough to get on a horse - western style (example: Wrangler, Cruel Girl, Cinch, etc.).
  • All shirts must be tucked in when riding - no crop tops (no backs or belly buttons showing).
  • Clothing may not have concert promotions, suggestive or explicit language displayed.
  • Absolutely no sandals, open-toed shoes or shorts are to be worn at the barn.  This includes weekends, holidays, horse shows and evening visits.
  • Long sleeve, button-down shirt with collar for riding test and finals is required.
  • Helmet Policy: Wearing an ATSM/SEI certified helmet is encouraged when riding.  An ATSM/SEI certified helmet is required when jumping or engaging in gymnastics or riding English.  Sophomore, juniors and seniors are required to wear an ATSM/SEI certified helmet or hockey helmet when working with or riding an unbroken horse in a round pen.
  • Lastly, please remember, the ring is a classroom, as is any time you spend at the barn.  Address instructors, barn staff, interns and peers with respect.  The ring is for students participating in a lesson or those taking notes on a lesson. All those participating and observing will be expected to pay attention and keep extraneous noise to a minimum.

What equipment will you need?

All freshman will need to bring their own tack and the equipment needed to care for a horse.  We will have retailers at the farm during the first few weeks of the fall semester.  If you are unable to acquire all of your equipment before arriving or you have additional questions about your equipment, you can wait unti you arrive to meet with the retailers.  Click the button below for a full list of required western tack.

Where will you store your tack?

Your equipment represents a large investment and we want to help you keep it safe and in good condition.  UF provides tack lockers​ for each student, so it won't be necessary to bring one.

Interested in joining one of the riding teams?

Tryouts for both of our teams are typically held at the beginning of the fall semester in September.
Learn more about each team:

Check out this helpful year-by-year overview that walks you through the program!

Take a virtual tour of our western farm!

Additional questions?  Please feel free to contact the Director of Equestrian Studies and Equine Business Management:  Jill Paxton, at