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Because of Horses

Mar 23, 2018

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses podcast is Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s Advisory Board, as well as a frequent guest on the Plaid Horse’s Plaidcast, where he keeps listeners updated on the latest NCEA news. He’s also a horse-show dad — and husband — who knows the competitive horse world like few others. Tom has three daughters and a son; Casey, Abby, Meg, and T.J. — all of whom have ridden competitively. The family of six have traveled on the road 35 weekends out of the year attending horse shows ... and his children competed at 34 Equitation Finals.


It would be easy to focus on Tom’s incredible professional and competitive accomplishments, as well as the difference he is making across the U.S. through the NCEA — but, at the heart of his infectious enthusiasm, his phenomenal knowledge, his terrifically positive energy, and his always-upbeat nature, is an incredibly engaged and justifiably proud father and husband who shares in his family’s passion and talent for the equestrian world.


Listen in to today’s show to hear more about Tom’s incredible drive to help bring the same opportunities that his own children have had to all young equestrians — as well as his advice and recommendations to young riders, a look at the NCEA and participating universities at the ground level, and the work he is doing behind the scenes to help grow the equestrian sport.


Topics of Discussion:

[1:12] How Tom’s family’s horse show experiences brought them all closer together.

[5:14] More about Tom’s children and their age differences.

[6:18] What is it about horses, riding, and competing that is so beneficial to families?

[8:15] The nuances of equestrian sport and the many ways it is great for children.

[11:50] What led Tom to serve on the NCEA Advisory Board, and a brief history of the NCEA and NCAA.

[22:49] Reading listener feedback!

[24:25] How NCEA and NCAA help grow equestrian sport and support women.

[29:59] The process of persuading universities and colleges to take on the equestrian sport, and an example of Tom's conversations with academic leaders.

[41:10] The challenge: schools dropping their equestrian programs and how NCEA approaches potential concerns.

[47:30] The caliber of female students required by equestrian sport: its all year ’round, no time- off schedule, while balancing their academics and maintaining their scholarships.

[55:45] Tom’s advice and recommendations to young riders whose colleges or universities do not yet have an equestrian team.

[1:04:08] About Tom’s regular appearances on The Plaid Horse’s Plaidcast and his predictions for Collegiate Equestrian.

[1:12:20] Where to learn more about the Plaidcast, the NCEA, and find Tom online.


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Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Tom O’Mara

The Plaid Horse
Plaidcast (NCEA)


Mentioned in this Episode: (NCEA)

Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA)

The Plaid Horse

A Parent's Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Gaston Chand


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