Increase your career prospects with an equine degree

BSc (Hons) Equine Science Hannah Dickson - Outstanding Achievement in undergraduate research in Equine Science Award winner

BSc (Hons) Equine Science Hannah Dickson – Outstanding Achievement in undergraduate research in Equine Science Award winner

The debate goes on but the message is clear: studying for an equine science degree hugely improves your career prospects.

This was the main topic of conversation when Reaseheath College in Cheshire partnered Horse & Hound, Britain’s most respected information source, in a recent on-line careers webchat.

Equine lecturers Kate Douglas-Dala and Jess Denham, both Advanced Practitioners at the college, were inundated with questions from young people planning their future careers and from others who are already employed but looking to progress or change careers.

Here are some examples of their advice:

Lots of employers say equine colleges are not preparing graduates adequately for work in the industry. Why should I bother to get an academic qualification?

  • All Reaseheath’s equine degrees are focussed on employability. All courses include the opportunity to work practically with horses, from stable management through to gait analysis using the latest mechanical software.
  • Reaseheath places high importance on employability skills. Graduates leave with a skills portfolio which demonstrates they have both practical competencies and the paper based qualifications to succeed in the industry.
  • Undergraduates complete a work placement as part of their course, Many employers are so impressed with our students’ skills that they offer them paid employment once they have gained their qualification.
  • We work with a wide range of partners, allowing our students to gain experiences and contacts within the industry. For instance we provide the arena party at prestigious international events such as the Horse of the Year Show and Bolesworth International.
  • What really sets us apart are our links to industry including The International Committee on Equine Exercise Physiology, the Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence Group and key industry stakeholders such as the Cheshire Racing Hub. These links have opened the door to collaborative research projects, conference attendance bursaries and a range of research opportunities.
FdSc Equine Science and Management graduates Rebecca Webb, Rebecca Wilkinson, Amy Cunningham, Dame Sarah Storey DBE and Kate Douglas-Dala (lecturer)

FdSc Equine Science and Management graduates Rebecca Webb, Rebecca Wilkinson, Amy Cunningham, Dame Sarah Storey DBE and Kate Douglas-Dala (lecturer)

I’m a mature student thinking of changing career? Will I be able to cope with returning to learning?

  • We’re noticing an increase in the number of mature students who have chosen to ‘pursue their dream’ and retrain for a career in the equine industry. We offer a range of support to this student group to facilitate a stress free return to studying.
  • Our course team is always ready to help with any specific challenges. We have a fantastic learning centre which supports undergraduates individually or by using a combined peer approach. Students can also have one-to-one sessions with a specialist tutor.
FdSc Equine Science Complementary Therapy and Natural Horsemanship

Successful Foundation Degree in Equine Science, Complementary Therapy and Natural Horsemanship graduates celebrate with Course Manager Dawn Gale and Dame Sarah Storey

Do you favour candidates with a science background?

  • We prefer you to have some science based qualifications for our Level 3 Diplomas and particularly for our BSc routes. However, this may include ‘A’ levels such as psychology or physical education or other science related studies.

We’ve got a range of new degree programmes on offer, to find out more visit our Higher Education equine course pages.


The Reaseheath equine experience

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an equine student at Reaseheath College?…

If you have any questions about life as an equine student, the industry, university or on-job training, we’re here to help. Join our live Horse and Hound web chat today 12pm-2pm. Reaseheath’s senior equine science lecturer Kate Douglas-Dala and Level 2 Diploma in Horse Care course manager, Jess Denham, will be ready to answer any questions you may have. 

Find out more about our equine courses at:

Round the clock horse ride raises funds for Lucy’s Mum

Equine Science undergraduates raised nearly £800 by riding our mechanical horse for 24 hours. The funds will help fellow student Lucy William’s family to pay for specialist cancer treatment for Lucy’s Mum Vicky.

Lucy, 18, who is studying for a Foundation Degree in Equine Science, organised the riding marathon to help raise the £15,000 the family needs to send Vicky to Germany for hyperthermia treatment.

With our students’ help, the fund has reached almost £14,000 and Vicky has already left for the Klinik Marinus in Upper Bavaria. Her family hope that the treatment will give her more time with her four children Christopher (20), Lucy, Billy (14) who suffers from spina bifida, and Charlie who is nearly two.

Vicky was diagnosed with cervical cancer just after Charlie was born and now has bone cancer in her back, ribs and pelvis.

Lucy, who also ran a cake stall during the fundraising event, said: “I was really pleased at the way everyone helped to make this such a success. We raised an amazing amount of money and I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the students who took part and to the staff who had to stay up to supervise us!”

For further details see Facebook Vicky’s Miracle

Caption: Lucy Williams with rider Natalie-Jade Hadfield on ‘Flicka’ our mechanical horse.


Reaseheath graduation opens doors to careers success

Graduates from Reaseheath College received degrees designed to boost their careers at a ceremony in the centre of Nantwich.

Dressed in gowns and mortar boards, almost 150 graduates spilled out of St Mary’s Church to celebrate with Britain’s best known Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, who was guest speaker.

The ceremony marked the achievement of students who had completed degrees in agricultural science, equine science, food technology, garden and landscape design, engineering, countryside management, adventure sports management and rural events management, all delivered in partnership with Harper Adams University.

Animal management and science students on degree programmes validated by the University of Chester (UoM) graduated alongside other UoM students at Chester Catherdral  in November.

Describing the Nantwich ceremony as one of the highlight of the academic year, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David emphasised that the graduates would see a massive return on their financial and emotional investment. An independent analysis had shown that £40,000 spent on course fees and living expenses would secure an additional £250,000 over the span of a career. Nearly 90% of Reaseheath graduates who completed degrees last year were in related employment within six months of completing their course on an average starting salary of £21,000.

Degrees gained at Reaseheath College were specialist, technical qualifications which enabled students to gain both knowledge and the necessary skills and competencies to carve out a successful career.

In such a competitive jobs market it was important that higher education (HE) programmes were delivered and validated by high quality, well respected institutions. Reaseheath’s own HE programmes had recently been inspected by the Quality Assurance Agency and had received fantastic report, equivalent to an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted.

Reaseheath continued to invest in specialist facilities and resources which would give students the competitive edge in the jobs market. Over £40 million had been spent on facilities which were recognised as among the best in the country. A further £10 million would be invested this year into a national centre for Food Futures and Environmental Management and this would be followed by a £13 million spend on a 200 room residential building and an extension to the Higher Education Centre, both to be completed for September 2016.

Reaseheath currently had 700 students enrolled on degree courses. A significant number were mature students or were studying while working with the support of their employers. One of its most successful programmes was the Eden Project, which offers dairy technologists the chance to gain a globally recognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology. The qualification had been developed in close partnership with industry and was aimed at meeting demand for future managers.

Although academic progress was important, Meredydd pointed out that many graduates had helped to organise social events and charity fund raising, which last year contributed £12,000 to worthy charities.

Congratulating the graduates, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who studied politics and now has a seat in the House of Lords, said that education was vital and led to wider choices. Her key advice was to try something new and not be put off by failure. Although she had been dedicated to wheelchair racing from the age of 12 she did not win for four years and this had taught her how to train and be committed.

To find out more about our degree programmes please visit the Higher Education pages on our website.

For more photos from the day visit our Facebook page.


Careers in focus: Emily Cooke, BSc (Hons) Equine Science, 2012

BSC Equine Science 2009 Emily CookeClass of 2012 BSc (Hons) Equine Science  graduate Emily Cooke has been catching up with Reaseheath’s new Alumni Officer Katie Burt; filling her in on what she has been up to since leaving Reaseheath.
Here’s how they got on:

Hi Emily, great to hear from you – can you describe your current job role and responsibilities?

Since May 2013 I have been working as a rider at Paul Schockemöhle Pferdehaltung GmbH based in Neustadt-Glewe, north-east Germany (just over an hour from Hamburg and couple of hours from Berlin).  I work alongside over 25 riders at Schockemöhle’s and we’re all allocated our own specific list of horses to work with on a day-to-day basis. We work with and ride all of our allocated horses each day, which is approximately eighteen green horses (mares, geldings, and stallions) per rider. This process ensures all the horses are sufficiently exercised, ‘broken in’ and trained up to a professional showing standard.

 Your job sounds great Emily, can you tell me a little bit more about life as a rider?

It is crucial for each rider to take sole responsibility for our own allocated horses, ensuring they get the highest quality of care. It is our responsibility to consult vets, dentists and blacksmiths when necessary. Furthermore, it is our duty to ensure all treatments allocated to the horses are completed (injections, medication etc.).

 We have an important role to play as riders; at least once a week one of the senior representatives from Schockemöhle comes to our yard to check our progress and determine our horses’ proceeding careers; show jumping, breeding, sales etc.

 Wow, that’s impressive – so you have to do all this on your own?

Well, generally speaking yes, but we do have some support; every rider has around one or two grooms working for them, which is a great help. Along with this, we have two trainers who are always in the arenas to help us.

As you mentioned, you’ve been a rider since May 2013, what were you doing before this?

After graduating from Reaseheath, I went to work on a farm in Canada for four months (June 2009-October 2009) to ‘break in’ Welsh hunter ponies. This was fantastic work experience.  However, after the first couple of months, I realised that this role was a little too isolating for me. I worked a lot on my own and the farm location was somewhat in the ‘middle of nowhere’. As result, I headed back to the UK in search of my next venture.

I proceeded to spend some time back in the UK working as Sales Representative and did some office temping, whilst continuing to search for my ideal role within the equestrian industry…

How did you find job searching?

It is a bit of a lengthy process and can be rather disheartening at times. Regardless of the challenges faced, I continued to persevere and after some serious dedication to the job search I came across an advert online for a job as a rider at Paul Schockemöhle’s Gestüt Lewitz. I applied immediately and never looked back!

Do you find your job challenging?

I love my job as a rider, however sometimes it can be a very challenging environment to work in. The equestrian industry is generally a very competitive, on our yard alone we have thirteen riders and all are very talented. Everyone wants to train and produce the best horses. The trainers on site are very honest and can be quite brutal, if your work is below standard, they tell you. Many people come and go in a matter of months. The day starts at 7am; we feed the horses, muck out, lay clean straw and sweep before 8am. With roughly 130 stables on our yard, it’s quite a tough job with only around twenty-five people working – and that’s all before breakfast!

 What’s next for you?

 I’m always looking for continuing professional development and new riding opportunities. There is nothing more important to me than growing professionally and personally.  Initially moving forward, I would like to return to the UK for some time and complete my British Horse Society exams. Then, I’m off to Australia to work with Andrew McLean for three months at the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre (AEBC). I applied and was accepted on AEBC’s Working Pupil Program, a prestigious dedicated step-by-step training scheme, designed to support specific training goals for riders.

After Australia, I am considering an MSc in Equine Behaviour, otherwise I will continue working with horses around the world.

What advice would you give to our current students  looking to move into your industry?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Have faith in yourself and your ability. Going abroad was the scariest and most rewarding decision I’ve ever made. I fully recommend it! I didn’t even know how to say ‘Hello’ in German, when I got on that plane…

Remember – if it doesn’t work out, you can always go home!