Congress for College?

Asking from H/J, Dressage & Pleasure Driving Land:
Friends 17yo granddaughter is a lovely WP & Huntseat rider. Cleans up at local shows, Fair & the rarer rated show. She’s also a nice kid, no Princess.
IIRC, she did take a horse to Congress several years ago & placed. Not in the Top 10, but still placings in Ginormous classes.

This year there’s Congress talk amongst the Mom & Grandma.
Not sure if the (weekly lesson) local-BNT is involved, they do show without trainer locally.

Her new horse is a coming-4yo Appendix.
He may be the candidate, or may go along with her older gelding who’s all AQHA.

My question is why spend the large pile of money if there’s no benefit besides the cachet?
Parents are not destitute, not Rockefellers either, but it’s a Big Spend for them & I suspect Grandma foots some of the bill.

Question #2: Is there a benefit for kid’s college app for having “Shown at Congress” on it?

Honestly interested, no snark intended.
Enlighten me.

No - it won’t matter. College scouts who are recruiting for the NCEA will be looking at the top of the placings at multiple shows, not just Congress.

Just wants the experience of showing at a big show? Enjoy! I can think of cheaper shows to get experience at. Congress is a different ballgame.


That ^.

Western riding shows are super competitive, the best is the best because they have the better horses, the better trained horses and riders and the best trainers.

If you are going to compete successfully at the top, you really need the knowledge and experience of top trainers.
I think someone “working without a trainer, showing without a trainer”, is just not going to be that competitive in top environments, they “won’t know what they don’t know” applies here.

Plenty do go to top shows, if they have the time and money and it is a great experience.
They also know they rarely will be able to perform and place at the top, against consistent top competitors.

Maybe the OP’s people want to give their rider that experience, any other just a distant wish.


Thanks for the info.
I didn’t think there was all that much value on a college app. Unless you were applying to a place with mainly equine focus.
Kid works with the local BNT, who hopefully knows what the Top 10 look like & would honestly assess this rider.
Which, I’d hope would convince parents the $$ was better spent.
Like maybe toward tuition? :unamused:

Disclaimer - I have never been to Congress, I do not own an AQH, etc.

Shows like Congress are an experience, not just a show. People go and show at Congress for that experience. Winning is a cherry on top of the experience. Lots of people go that have no reasonable chance of winning.

You (general) might go to Rome, they go to Congress. Consider this a family vacation.

A person could explain away even owning a horse if we wanted to say the money is better spent on something like college tuition.

Edit to fix bad typing…mike =/= might.


There is no link between showing at Congress and college.

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While I agree, in theory, this could be Mom living through her kid. Maybe Grandma too?

Dad never goes to the bigger shows. Or even Fair. Neither does Mom, with the very rare exception. They’re both always working.
Grandma (my friend) is the one taking kid to lessons & shows. Kid shows Grandma’s horses at Fair. Grandma would be the one going to Congress for the most part.
Mom might take a day or two off to show up.
So it wouldn’t be a whole family trip.

Mom was active in 4H as a kid & for some time very active in daughter’s 4H program.
I don’t believe she ever went as far as Congress.
Grandma is forever telling me how knowledgeable Mom is on All Things QH.
Maybe, maybe not.
Grandma herself never showed at anything more than Fair, is an admitted Backyard Rider, but has ridden most of her life ( her Dad sold horses), now drives (horses) instead.
As an aside:
She’s always telling me how she’d like to do a rated/ADS-type show & her horses (& turnout) are competitive. But somehow granddaughter’s horse stuff precludes her ability to do so.
Not being a grand (or have kids myself) maybe it’s just that I DGI :woman_shrugging:

Because that’s what they like to do.

It doesn’t always have to be about clout.

I have a client who takes her horse to congress every year. It’s their only away show, they go for the fun of it, and last year her daughter even got into the top-10 in one class.

Sounds like they are doing it for the right reasons and not getting wrapped up in the ego trip it can turn into.


FWIW --I was asked to work with a high school student who (pre COVID) was doing all her HS work on-line through the local HS. There was concern among her teachers that she wasn’t doing the work in a timely manner, too much help, etc. I’d had the kiddo in class the year before she went totally on-line --she was tremendously bright (she was in my high honors class) . She did have some challenges with being over scheduled --family was BIG TIME into showing QH --Congress, World, AQHA everything. She often missed school to attend, so the decision was made to allow her (and a boy from another family who drove race cars and made $$ for his family) to complete work on-line and arrange for testing to be done at the school. I was the supervisor as I had on-line teaching credentials and experience with on-line learning.

Ok time passes. The girl and boy both complete their HS work. No problems, really. As a horse owner myself, I get to know the horse-owning family well. Eventually I have all three of their kiddos in class at some point. Middle kiddo is most successful and earns a FREE RIDE to college for her many wins at Congress and World etc. She joins the equestrian team and does well.


Except that at some point, mom overshares and says, “We could have sent her to college three times over for what it cost us in horse shows.” The family was extremely well-to-do, so paying for school was never an issue for them. It’s back to the old “how do you make a million dollars owning horses?” --answer–start with $2 million.

Kiddo is now done with school --a solid citizen travelling with friends in Europe this summer. Meanwhile, mom couldn’t give up the lifestyle and now SHE shows the fancy horse at World and Congress --etc. Living the dream.

She did raise three of the nicest girls I ever had in class.


Great ending to your story.
But this family ticks few (if any) of the boxes.
Kid is no Straight A, even Grandma opined she isn’t Dean’s List material.
Which is fine with them. Not everyone has to graduate summa cum laude.
Right now, AFAIK, she has no college career mapped out. At 17, there’s lots of time for her to decide what she’d like to do “when she grows up”.

This from a Fine Arts Major who ended up specializing in collecting medical debt (me!).
For me it was always a paycheck, not a career, that allowed me to do what I wanted in Life, ending in horses in my mid-30s.
40yrs later I’m satisfied for the most part.

I honestly do not understand the level of interest you have. Not at all. NADA.

it is not your money.
You didn’t breed the horse, train the horse, ever own the horse. Shoe the horse. You don’t share a trainer. You don’t share a fence line for heavens sake.

Close your curtains and mind your own business.



Who cares what they do with THEIR horse and THEIR money on THEIR time.

Someone sounds a bit jealous

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Awww, @Djones, I am delighted that u believe horse people should mind their own business—frankly for me one of the great (perhaps too great) joys of horse ownership is chatting (nice word for gossiping) about other horse owners and their decisions. I found @2DogsFarm post thought provoking. My kiddos and I often discussed the financial aspects of horse owning at shows and traveling to and from. We frequently wondered how X could afford this horse, that rig, etc —if such discussions are troubling to you, maybe don’t participate. I am going to continue to do so with other horse peeps!


As we all know, horse people are not known for their great financial decisions. This is probably the girls last year showing since she is about to go college. This might be her last hoorah for awhile. Congress is a huge deal and a fun event, so she might want to go and have fun one last time. It might her last chance at going. I would support her, wish her well and go ride my own horse.


@Foxglove it’s one thing to talk amongst your friends regarding people whom you all know.

I think it’s a little weird once the initial question has been asked and answered (the college thing) to gossip about grandma footing the bills for the horse shows when the kid isn’t college material on a big old global bulletin board.


@Djones I think we will have to agree that one persons “weird” is for another “thought provoking.” All good :blush:

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Thought-provoking? Are you really elevating it to that level? Didn’t you teach English for heaven’s sake?

It’s no such thing. It’s mean-spirited gossiping and judgment.

None of that intended.
If you read that into anything posted it’s on you.
I got the answer I was looking for.
Pls carry on.

If the Grandparents want to see one more time before she ages out and family is willing to pay for it? And they’ve been before so know what to expect? Go.

Don’t like to speculate on private family matters to pronounce judgement either way.
But I would advise taking the older, more experienced horse for a better experience.

And they do need to understand it will not help her scholarship wise. Those NCAA candidates have been on the radar for years by now. Do it for family fun and enjoyment only. And that ought to be a good enough reason.


Maybe it’s an early high school graduation gift and one last big hurrah with the family before the daughter has to start facing the adult world?

I’ve never shown at Congress but I’ve been several times and it’s a great experience.