Bringing a horse to Cambridge


Am I allowed to bring a horse with me to Cambridge?

There is nothing in the terms and conditions for students of the University that says you can’t (unlike cars). Neither does any course recommend or encourage bringing a horse and it is a very rare thing for students to do.

In terms of keeping the support of your tutors and directors and studies, in the words of Sam Cutts (full blue and Eric Evans scholarship recipient), “as long as you get all your work in on time and your grades are good, it’s amazing what you can get away with!”

Do I need my own horse to ride for the University?

Absolutely not. All the University team training and competitions are done on borrowed horses which do not belong to any of the competing riders, according to BUCS regulations.

Is there any University riding I can do on my own horse?

Not in connection with the Riding Club. The only opportunity to participate with a University society on your own horse in by following the Cambridge University Drag Hounds on horseback.

Do I have to be on the team to have a horse in Cambridge?

Trialling and riding for the team and having a horse with you are completely unrelated. There are people with horses here who are not memebers of CURC. Those members of CURC who do have horses are, in our experience, likely to be committed and competent enough to be selected for the team, hence this page’s location on the website.

Do I want to bring a horse with me to Cambridge?

Full term time at Cambridge is 8 weeks long. Most colleges allow you to stay in your room for between 9 and 12 weeks each term. That leaves some long gaps at Christmas, Easter and the summer, when you will either need to pay extra to live in Cambridge or move your horse back home. It can be expensive to retain stabling in Cambridge and at home.

As all courses are highly academic, the eight weeks of each term tend to be very intense. As any of the University’s top performing athletes demonstrate, it is possible to manage a high level of committment to sport during term time but it is not the lifestyle for everyone. The amount of the contact time for the specific course should be considered.

The advice of Tom March (half blue and member of the GB student riding squad) is, “Get a car and go home at the weekends to ride. It works much better. This is obviously reliant on having someone at home who can look after them/ride them while you’re away!”

Does the University have stables or any facilities for horses?

The Univeristy does not have any equestrian facilites and, although there are plans afoot for a spectacular new sports centre, equestrian facilities are not a part of those plans.

There is some college-owned grazing land but existing arrangments with farmers and the number of footpaths through the common land means permission to keep student horses there is not a realistic option.

Is there any support for equestrians?

Not specifically. There are Scholarship funds available through the University for sports people competiting outside the University teams at a very high level. There are also funds for competing at a high level for the University.

Many (if not all) colleges have sporting bursaries which reimburse costs due to representing the University. It would be necessary to ask on a college-by-college basis if someone competing their own horse is eligible to receive anything.

Are there local livery yards?

There are several yards within cycling distance of the colleges. One of these is Sara Horrell Eventing.

Are there local competition yards?

Very close to central Cambridge, there is really only one. Run by Val Gingell, although space there is strictly limited.

Cambridge is within a reasonable commuting distance of that racing Mecca that is Newmarket, where some people may find suitable training and facilities.

Is there a local competition circuit?

In short, yes. In particular dressage and show-jumping but if you are prepared to travel slightly further, eventing and showing are also found.

For those really aiming high in eventing, we are less than an hour’s drive from the Burghley Estate. We have not had a current student around Burghley since anyone can remember, however competiting at CCI**** level as a student has been done. (Sam Cutts went to Luhmuhlen in 2007.)

For those not quite ready yet, there are other local venues. Within 1.5 hours – Keysoe, Weston Lawns and Arena UK are obviously the big ones, but there’s also Forest Edge, Norfolk Showjumping Club, Manor Farm and Norton Heath not too far away either.