September 2018 - College & Competition
Written by by Robin Elmassian
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 22:40
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Multi-tasking & other skills gained as an equestrian make both possible.

by Robin Elmassian

Many young, passionate equestrians dream their professional future will be much like that of the sport’s finest, such as Olympians Kent Farrington and the legendary McLain Ward. Integrating an education in to such a dream may not be incorporated in their plan, but the youth of today are so capable of multi-tasking, determined and willing to make sacrifices to reach their goals, they can acquire a college degree and work daily towards their equestrian goals simultaneously.


Surviving high school, let alone excelling to the degree that results in an acceptance to a respected university, demands excellent time management skills, hard work, determination, focus, social sacrifices and a colossal commitment.


Ironically, these are the same qualities required of a successful equestrian!

My daughter Sloan is currently a sophomore at the University of San Diego, a highly competitive private university. During high school she rode seven days weekly, often juggling JV volleyball, equestrian team, leadership positions as Forensic and French clubs’ president, school Ambassador and maintained academic excellence. She served her community as a volunteer at the local hospital and was selected for The Royal Court.

Sloan Elmassian. Photo: McCool Photography

Sloan continued her philanthropic spirit riding with professional Nayel Nassar in the 2016 Longines Pro-Am Charity event. The dynamic Disco Duo’s victory earned $35,000 for the Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship program in Chatsworth.

Prior to leaving for college in the summer of 2017, Sloan competed in the Longines Global Champion Tour in London. This summer, she competed at Knokke Hippique in Belgium.

Sloan arranges her college classes to two days weekly, still permitting her five days to train and ride. She juggles a full class load, training, competing and commuting nearly 1.5 hours from school to the barn, and is determined to make it all work. She is a Law, Crime and Justice Studies major with a minor in business management.

Today’s young adult equestrians do not have to choose between a successful career in the sport they love or an education. They can and should be encouraged to do both. Many successful equestrians have a university degree. These include Mandy Porter, Nayel Nassar, Jennifer Gates, Lindsay Douglas, Brianne Goutal, Georgina Bloomberg, Jessica Springsteen, Lillie Keenan and Lucy Davis, to name only a few.

Author Robin Elmassian is Sloan’s mother, a self professed “barn mom” for 10 years. She shares this viewpoint in hopes of easing the way for other families faced with weighty decisions regarding the feasibility of collegiate study and high-level riding. “The journey is challenging, but the adventure is fun (most days!),” she concludes.