● How can I join the team?
The first step in joining the Hunt Seat team is to attend the activities fair hosted by Villanova at the beginning of the fall semester. Stop by, talk to current team members, and sign up as an interested potential member. We will later contact you via email with a date for our first meeting and there we will provide more info and get the membership process rolling! The team welcomes riders of all experience level and therefore, we do not accept submissions of riding resumes or videos.
● Are there tryouts?
We host tryouts in the beginning of the school year so that our coach can evaluate everyone’s riding ability and place them in the appropriate IHSA level. There are generally no cuts. If you choose to join the team in the beginning of the spring semester, our coach can evaluate you separately.
● Where does VUET ride?
We lesson at Great Scott Farm in Malvern, PA (about a 25-30 minute drive from Villanova) with our coach Lindsay Langan. Lessons are bought in the beginning of each semester in blocks of 10, and our team members lesson on a weekly basis. Lesson groups are scheduled around classes and availability, not by riding level. Members do not need to compete in order to participate in lessons. We host 1-2 shows a season at Great Scott Farm. Transportation to lessons and shows is provided by upperclassmen with cars on campus.
● Can I bring my own horse?
The horses used in our IHSA Program are owned by Great Scott Farm. You will not be able to ride your own horse for lessons and shows. Show horses are provided by the hosting school and you will ride different school horses in lessons to make you more adaptable to show situations and improve your overall riding skill. Should you want to bring your horse to school with you, there are barns in the area that do offer boarding.
● Do I need my own equipment to participate in the riding program?
Team members must provide their own riding boots, breeches, helmet, and show apparel. Team members do not need to provide their own tack, which is provided by Great Scott Farm. Some members choose to bring their own saddles, but since not every saddle fits every horse, you may not be able to use it every time you ride.
● How much does it cost to participate?
Like any other sport, there are fees associated with participation on the team, and let’s be honest – horseback riding is not a cheap sport. Each member is required to pay $500 in dues at the start of each semester. This covers the cost of Villanova club sport dues ($50), and also purchases 10 lessons (at $45 each) to be used throughout the semester. There is a $40 membership fee for IHSA. Class entry fees for shows are $30 per class, with a maximum of two classes (one over fences, one on the flat) per show. There are also optional opportunities to purchase team apparel (jackets, sweat pants, etc.).
● What is the time commitment required?
Each member is expected to take one lesson per week (up to a total of 10 lessons per semester). Lessons are an hour long, but ultimately amount to about a two and a half hour commitment when travel, grooming, and tacking are factored in. Shows usually last the entire day, starting at around 7:00 and ending around 3:00 (rough estimates-every show is a little different). Some members choose to lesson more than once a week, and some choose to lesson but not show; you can craft your experience with the team to meet your time needs.
● What is a typical show day like?
The team hosts 1-2 shows per season, and we travel to other competitions hosted by the other teams in our region throughout the season, about 5 a semester. All competitions are on weekends. Show days are all day events. The team leaves from Villanova early in the morning on show days, stops to grab food at Wawa, and then travels together to the shows. Transportation is either provided by upperclassmen with cars on campus, or by one of the University’s vans for certain shows that are farther away. All team members are required to attend the entirety of the show, regardless of when they are competing. The team sits together and cheers all of our riders on as they compete. Many team members choose to bring homework or study materials with them to the show but it’s also a great time to socialize with fellow teammates. The team leaves the competition together after the last team member has competed.
The best way to gain a similar competition experience beforehand is to join and compete with an IEA program -- or to even just watch an IEA competition. IEA is basically the IHSA for middle and high school students. Please note membership on an IEA team is not a requirement to join VUET. For more information, visit http://www.rideiea.org/