Continuing impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on collegiate equestrian student engagement and moral

Project Abstract

Previous research has shown that COVID-19 biosecurity restrictions had a negative impact on collegiate students' morale. Even though mandated restrictions are beginning to ease, they are still required in many university classrooms and athletic events. While some collegiate equestrian teams have returned to a more normal practice and competition schedule, continued requirement for biosecurity measures may impact student experiences and behaviors. The objective of this study was to evaluate the continuing effect of COVID-19 restrictions on collegiate equestrian team student engagement and morale. A survey was developed in SurveyMonkey® and distributed to coaches for six collegiate equestrian organizations: Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Intercollegiate Dressage Association, National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, National Collegiate Equestrian Association, Intercollegiate Eventing, and Intercollegiate Polo. The survey was open for five weeks and collected 24 usable responses. Descriptive statistics were completed using Microsoft Excel. Restrictions related to COVID-19 continued to impact students in 2021. During the spring 2021 semester, 37.5% (n=9/24) of teams were able to practice but not show. In contrast, all 26 responses (100%) indicated teams were able to do both in the fall 2021 semester. Compared to a previous survey, the most common restrictions continued to include social distancing and hand sanitizer use, but the incidence of each decreased. From spring to fall 2021, social distancing restrictions decreased from 79.2% (n=19/24) to 66.7% (n=16/24), and hand sanitizer use decreased from 70.8% (n=17/24) to 50% (n=12/24). Attitude and socialization continued to be negatively impacted (58.3%, n=14/24, and 54.2%, n=13/24, respectively), however, dedication improved (70.8%, n=17/24). Based on responses, increased ability to practice and compete appears to have improved student dedication, but continued restrictions still have a negative impact on morale.


  • Conference name (full, no abbreviations): National Association of Equine Affiliated Academics Annual Conference
  • Dates: May 31-June 2, 2022
  • Sponsoring body: National Association of Equine Affiliated Academics
  • Conference website:

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture


Agriculture/Animal Science/ Equine Science


Master of Science




Shea Porr, PhD

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture

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