FEA COLLEGIATE PROGRAM
THE NEXT LEVEL: SOLVING THE COLLEGIATE BLACK HOLE ISSUE
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN JUNIORS AND PROFESSIONALS
In its search to uncover real needs in the equestrian community, one question keeps resurfacing: "What happens to our talented junior riders when they age out?" The most common answer we hear is: the Collegiate Black Hole!
This term relates to the fact that numerous very talented riders go to college after their junior years, where they find less opportunity to further their riding career due to time or financial restraints, find another passion, or simply face other priorities - some would call this the normal transition to "real life."
The bottom line is that there is a need to close the gap between juniors and professionals in the 18-23 year old market segment. In most people's opinion the Young Riders and the U25 programs have shown excellent results and are proven to be an asset to our sport. But the fact remains that a large amount of talent slips through the cracks, one of the main reasons being the lack of proper financial support as well as a logical and systematic way of doing it properly.
Use collegiate assets to bridge the gap between juniors and professionals, so that talented juniors remain fully connected to the sport through their college education.
What FEA does: looks for needs, investigates situations, proposes solutions, and empowers actions.
There is much work to be done – here’s what we have in mind:
- Conduct surveys to find the real needs and obstacles the collegiate equestrian community faces
- Research & recommend ways to best serve colleges supporting an equestrian team
- Support riders’ transition to and from their college years
- Promote horsemanship at all colleges offering an equestrian program
- Sponsor collegiate national events
- Offer sponsorships and mentorships to riders and future equine-related professionals
- Support programs that would enhance performance and participation
- Support welfare of horses
- Potentially provide horses to college teams
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