Responding to many schools’ refusal to acknowledge equestrian disciplines as true sports, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) offers a program allowing high school students to letter in riding.
"High school equestrians have earned their place among the most dedicated athletes," said John Long, USEF Chief Executive Officer on the organization's website. "Not only are they putting in long hours to train for and compete in the sport they love — they do so while taking the concept of teamwork to the highest level, forming a partnership with a horse to achieve their goals.
Requirements for lettering include USEF membership, 100 hours of riding and participation at two USEF competitions or five competitions at shows “affiliated with, or sanctioned by a horse show association.” Riders must complete a log documenting riding hours and competition results. Click here for complete application materials. Click here for more information on the USEF high school letter program.
And, if you haven't tried The Rider's Fitness Program, above, I use it, (and should use it more!) It compliments any riding program, does not require a gym (although having access to weight-lifting equipment makes it even better), and the exercises can be done at a variety of intensity levels.
If you are a rider trying to lose weight, check out Horse & Rider blogger Sandy Denarski's tips.