Equine Science undergraduates are benefitting from the knowledge and experience of visiting professionals as part of University Centre Reaseheath’s ethos to ensure they are well informed about their career options.
A presentation on the value of British Horse Society (BHS) qualifications, a dressage demonstration and a visit from an equine physiotherapist are just some of the recent extra curriculum activities enjoyed by undergraduates.
Sally White, a BHS Intermediate Instructor and BHS Accredited Professional Coach, described BHS qualifications and the required elements at each stage for riding and stable management during a visit to our Equestrian Centre. These were seen as particularly useful for would-be yard managers, professional riders and coaches.
Emphasising the importance of BHS training within the equine industry and how these can help to progress careers, Sally said: “BHS exams provide really good career pathways because they’re recognised throughout the equine industry, particularly within organisations such as animal welfare charities and the mounted police. They can open so many doors, improve career prospects and lead to better jobs.”
Sally herself completed a psychology degree followed by a Masters in Sports Psychology. At the same time she worked up the BHS levels to become a Stage 4 Senior Coach and is now training for her Stage 5 Senior Coach.
Based at the Luckington Stud livery yard in Shrewsbury, she has been a freelance Accredited Coach for 15 years and also took our undergraduates through a typical day in her busy working life.
Reaseheath Equestrian Centre is BHS Approved and actively encourages undergraduates and diploma students to consider studying for BHS qualifications.
Sally’s presentation was followed by a dressage demonstration by Helen Hopewell, a BHS Assistant Instructor and Senior Rider Representative for British Dressage Wales. Helen has represented Wales as a team member for a number of years and currently competes her horse Frankie, a 9 year-old Dutch Warmblood, at advanced medium level dressage.
Helen and Frankie demonstrated the requirements of dressage tests at different levels, from introductory (walk and trot) to advanced medium (flying changes), and gave an insight into the criteria used by judges to mark the movements.
This session was aimed at benefitting undergraduates considering working on a competitive yard, those wanting to school and compete or those thinking of becoming dressage trainers or judges.
A third event, much appreciated by undergraduates considering careers in veterinary science, equine sports performance and horse welfare or behaviour, was a demonstration by Performance Physiotherapist Amy Shakeshaft.
Amy, who is self employed, pointed out the locations of superficial and deep muscles which commonly cause tightness in sports horses to undergraduates studying on our BSc in Equine Science or Foundation Degree in Training and Rehabilitation. Roger, an event horse owned by Higher Education Lecturer and Course Manager Toni Williams was used for the demonstration.
Charlotte Brunt, 21, from Manchester, a second year BSc (Hons) in Equine Science undergraduate, is currently considering lecturing or managing a rehabilitation unit. She said: “These events have been really good. I’ve been inspired by listening to successful professionals from completely different areas within the industry and I feel I gained a real insight into the careers available.”
Megan Swann, 20, who is also studying for her BSc (Hons) in Equine Science and is from Manchester, is training her own six year-old showjumper and may like become a professional trainer of young horses.
She said: “I found the presentations and demonstrations really useful and very interesting. I’m considering taking the BHS qualifications which focus on riding as I think they will help me in my future career.”
Toni Williams, who organised the events, commented: “We believe it’s crucial that our equine science undergraduates are aware of the wide range of satisfying and, in many cases, well paid careers which await them.
“Thanks to Reaseheath’s industry links we have many experienced professionals who are willing to support us in encouraging our undergraduates to make the right career decision.”