Equine undergraduates win USA internships

Two Reaseheath equine science undergraduates have won prestigious internships in the USA.

Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood have both been awarded the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) competitive internship to go to Virginia Tech’s Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE Center).

The MARE Center is a 420 acre equine research and education facility in Middleburg, Virginia – the heart of horse country in the USA.  The three month internship will allow our undergraduates to develop research and academic skills in a practical, hands-on, environment.

The programme, which focuses on optimising horse and environmental health, is designed to prepare students for careers in the equine industry, academia or veterinary science by applying classroom knowledge in a ‘real world’ context.

Looking forward to their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood

Looking forward to their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood

It is the first time in the history of the internship that it has been awarded to two candidates, with judges feeling that both were equally worthy.

Michelle and Zoe are following in the footsteps of first class equine science graduate Charlotte Woolley, who won the internship in 2014 during her final year with us. Charlotte is now studying for an MSc in Animal Biosciences, and will start a PhD in Clinical Veterinary Sciences in September, both at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh.

Michelle and Zoe, both 21, are due to complete their BSc (Hons) Degrees in Equine Science this summer and are confident that their internships will boost their career prospects as well as giving them a unique insight into an acclaimed international programme. As interns, they will be involved in the advancement of equine research in reproduction and breeding in the Sport Horse and Thoroughbred industries, and in nutritional management and health, exercise physiology and land stewardship.

To qualify for this valuable opportunity, both undergraduates wrote 3,000 word essays on subjects involving the health and welfare of equines. Michelle, who wants to become an equine journalist specialising in horse care and veterinary issues for the leisure owner, chose the indiscriminate breeding of horses as her subject.

Zoe, who is considering a future career in research, wrote her report on internal parasite burdens in young horses and how it affects their health in later life.

Both students, who came to Reaseheath after ‘A’ level studies, were shortlisted and interviewed by a judging panel consisting of Prof Graham Suggett OBE (former Director National Equine Database, former BEF Director of Equine Development and Principal Emeritus Warwickshire College), Dr Georgina Crossman (BEF Research Consultant) and Dr Bridgett McIntosh (MAREC) via Skype.

Dr Crossman commented: “Michelle and Zoe were both outstanding candidates with unique qualities who we felt would equally benefit from the internship. We hope they enjoy the summer with Dr McIntosh and the rest of the team at the MAREC, and look forward to reading about their experiences and the way the internship has influenced their future upon the submission of their reports when they return.”

Michelle said: “This will be an amazing opportunity for us to learn alongside acknowledged experts and to gain practical skills working with some fantastic horses. We’re both really excited about the trip!”

Keep updated with Michelle and Zoe during their internship experience via our HE blog site here.

Header picture caption: Celebrating winning their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood are joined by Professor Graham Suggett, Dr Georgina Crossman and Charlotte Woolley

HE careers day promotes opportunities in horseracing

Many of our equine science undergraduates are considering careers in horseracing following a successful HE information event focused on the industry.

After hearing about the variety of well paid and rewarding jobs which are available, 72% of students said that they would definitely think more about entering the industry.

The careers day was held in our dedicated HE faculty in partnership with Cheshire Racing Hub, which promotes horseracing as a career among school and college students. The event was aimed at illustrating the less recognised jobs such as marketing, media and office administration as well as more familiar race riding, grooming, veterinary research and breeding.

Opportunities for global travel were emphasised, along with the industry’s  well regulated standards of employment which include sickness and holiday benefits and bonuses.

Gillian Carlisle, Chief Executive, The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre, told the audience: “The British Racing industry embraces young people. There are so many opportunities all over the world, so make sure you make the most of work experience and go somewhere exciting. Make sure you have transferable skills and above all be passionate about what you do.”

Other Inspirational speakers included Tallulah Lewis, Executive of The Thoroughbred Club, Samantha Trainer, a roving assessor for the Northern Racing College and Elisha Whittington, a work jockey at Manor House Stables, Michael Owen’s racing yard in Cheshire.

BSc Equine Science undergraduates Krystina Whitmore and Emily Cockerill spoke enthusiastically of their experiences while working in the racing industry and of the buzz of race days, and jockeys from Oliver Greenall Racing, Malpas, gave a ridden demonstration and commentary in Reaseheath’s indoor arena.

Said Dr Jan Birch, HE Equine Programme Leader: “The racing careers day was a resounding success. The students really enjoyed it and the pre and post event questionnaires revealed that the number  who would consider a career in the racing industry had risen from 30% to 72%!”

Reaseheath College, a leader in equine education, is for the first time offering a bespoke racing module within its equine courses which has been taken up by over 40  students.

For further details of Reaseheath’s equine degrees see www.reaseheath.ac.uk /higher-education/courses/equine

Header caption: Speakers and students at the HE Horseracing Careers Day

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.


Dressage dynasty holds masterclass at Reaseheath College

Riding and training enthusiasts had the privilege of watching the world’s most prolific dressage dynasty in action when the Eilberg family gave a masterclass at Reaseheath College’s Equestrian Centre in Cheshire.

A sell out audience watched internationally respected coach Ferdi Eilberg, son Michael, daughter Maria and protégé Greg Sims demonstrate training methods from just backed youngster to grand prix level.

Ferdi is British Dressage’s World Class Director of Coaching and oversees the training schedules of Britain’s top dressage riders as they prepare for major championships. He is also dressage trainer to Ireland’s eventing team and holds an honorary fellowship from the British Horse Society for his services to equestrianism.

Michael enjoyed an early career as a show jumper and has continued to compete at the highest level since changing disciplines. He was a member of the silver medal winning teams at both the World Equestrian Games and at the 2015 European Dressage Championships, and of the bronze medal winning team at the 2013 European Dressage Championships.

Maria is a previous British National Dressage Championships winner and was a member of the silver medal winning team at the 2009 European Dressage Championships.

With the family was Greg Sims, current British Dressage ‘Young Professionals Award’ holder, who completed his apprenticeship with the Eilbergs and is now a permanent member of staff. Greg, who specialises in starting off the young horses, partnered a four year-old gelding, ‘Scirocco’, to enable Ferdi to advise on early training, in particular the importance of allowing young horses time to adjust their balance to the weight of the rider.

Maria, who partnered advanced medium ride ‘T J Benjamin’, showed training progressing through lateral work to collection while Michael, who rode his small tour horse ‘Sa Coeur’ and British team horse ‘Marakov’, demonstrated training for movements up to piaffe and passage.

Members of the audience were so keen to question Ferdi and his team that they were still in Reaseheath’s indoor arena at 11pm!

Reaseheath Equine Event Co-ordinator Heather Cooper said: “Our supporters were delighted to have the chance to watch riders and trainers of such calibre here in Cheshire, and we have since received fantastic feedback.”

Coming up in early 2016: Eventing masterclasses by Oliver Townend and Lucinda Fredericks Check out our dates at www.reaseheath.ac.uk/reaseheath-equestrian-centre 

Horseracing careers seem a good bet for Reaseheath students

Reaseheath College equine students were introduced to the varied careers offered by the horse racing industry at an event run by Cheshire Racing Hub.

A day of talks and demonstrations, held at the college’s equestrian centre, illustrated careers ranging from the riding and care of racehorses to jobs within support industries such as farriery, veterinary services, equine dentistry, physiotherapy, nutrition and racing administration. There is currently a high demand nationwide for staff in all these areas.

The event was part of Cheshire Racing Hub’s ‘Racing Through Education’ project, which is raising awareness of the careers available among the county’s secondary school pupils, college students and veterinary undergraduates.

The initiative is being led by Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of its rural regeneration strategy, which aims to create jobs and build up the rural economy. Horse racing has been identified as a key economic driver within the region.

Reaseheath College is a partner in the project and is now offering a bespoke racing module within its equine courses. Over 40 students have taken up the option this year.

Around 130 students attended the event, hearing a talk on careers in racing by Emma Cassidy, a Roving Assessor for the Northern Racing College, and enjoying a practical riding session on Reaseheath’s mechanical horse.

They were also inspired by Carrie Ford, who in 2005 was the highest placed female jockey to be placed in the Grand National. Carrie is now National Education Officer for ‘Racing to School’, an education programme which emphasises how skills in maths and science can open the door to rewarding careers in horse racing.

Jockeys from Oliver Greenall Racing in Malpas rode two racehorses in the college’s indoor arena, discussed the care of racehorses and described their careers.

The event was aimed at Level 3 Diploma in Equine students but a second event for undergraduates on Reaseheath’s equine degree programmes is planned for next Spring. Cheshire Racing Hub has run an additional informative talk at Bishop Heber High School, Malpas, followed by a visit to a racing yard for interested pupils.

The Hub is also supporting five undergraduates from the Leahurst Veterinary College of the University of Liverpool with bursaries, enabling them to take up practical placements in the industry.

Chair of Cheshire Racing Hub Kay Kent said: “It’s important that young people fully realise how many vacancies are waiting for them both locally and nationally. It was a pleasure to see so many enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed students at Reaseheath, some of whom will go on into rewarding careers within the horse racing industry.”

‘Racing Through Education’ is part of the British Horseracing Authority’s ‘Racing Together’ scheme to raise the profile of racing nationally within communities.

Reaseheath demo by world class eventer

Eventing enthusiasts had the chance to learn from one of the best cross country riders in the world when Paul Tapner gave a demonstration at Reaseheath College’s Equestrian Centre in Cheshire.

A member of the Australian eventing team and former winner of Badminton Horse Trials, Paul shared his training tips for novice and advanced horses. Riding Counterparty, a seven year-old former racehorse now competing at two star level, Paul demonstrated how consistent schooling over poles and small fences will achieve results with even the sharpest of horses. He also emphasised how important it is for the rider to accurately judge the distance between fences.

Eventer Paul Tapner and Kilronan are joined by Reaseheath equine lecturer James Rayner , Commercial and Resources Manager Zoe Cappaert, Equine Events Co-ordinator Heather Cooper and students Rhianne Edisbury and Kirsty Brasenell

Eventer Paul Tapner and Kilronan are joined by Reaseheath equine lecturer James Rayner , Commercial and Resources Manager Zoe Cappaert, Equine Events Co-ordinator Heather Cooper and students Rhianne Edisbury and Kirsty Brasenell

Counterparty, who ran five times under rules, was the 2015 Elite Eventing Champion for the Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) and is being aimed at three star competitions next year. Paul then partnered his top four star horse, 14 year-old Kilronan, to show how he uses the same principles to prepare his more advanced horses for the competition season.

After answering questions from enthusiastic spectators, Paul said: “It’s been a great evening. Reaseheath’s facilities are excellent and you’ve been a fabulous audience.”

Reaseheath Equine Events Co-ordinator Heather Cooper added: “It was a fantastic coup to have Paul here. We hope our visitors went away having learned something which will help them train their own horses.”

  • Friday December 4 Evening dressage demonstration by British Dressage World Class Director of Coaching Ferdi Eilberg with son Michael and daughter Maria, both successful international competitors. Tickets available from the Reaseheath Online Store.

Reaseheath students inspired by ‘Horses Inside Out’

Reaseheath College’s equine students had the unique opportunity to work with inspirational equine anatomist Gillian Higgins when the British Horse Society (BHS) Cheshire branch presented a ‘Horses Inside Out’ demonstration at Reaseheath’s Equestrian Centre.

Gillian, who is a BHS senior coach, equine anatomist and sports and remedial therapist, founded ‘Horses Inside Out’ as an education resource for the equine industry and her demonstrations and conferences attract an international following.

The event, organised by BHS Cheshire officers and volunteers, covered equine anatomy and biomechanics and demonstrated the muscular skeletal system of horses in action. It featured many exercises, ridden and on the lunge, which could be used at home to improve the posture of both horses and riders.

The sell-out audience included BHS instructors, competitive riders, sports therapists, equine students and leisure riders. Reaseheath degree and Level 3 Diploma students had the chance to prepare the two equine ‘stars’ of the evening by painting the structure of their skeleton and muscles onto their bodies under the supervision of Gillian Higgins. The students also provided the arena party.
The horses were Roger, an 11 year-old Irish Sports Horse who events with owner Kelly Cain, and Ralph, an 8 year-old Connemara belonging to Reaseheath Foundation Degree in Equine Science and Management undergraduate Alice Banner.

Gillian said: “The aim of these demonstrations is to turn what could be a dull and difficult subject into something very relevant and also show how the posture of the rider affects horse performance and potentially horse welfare. Hopefully it will inspire Reaseheath’s students and those in the audience to learn more about anatomy and biomechanics.”

Reaseheath College is a BHS approved training centre and encourages students to gain BHS qualifications as part of their portfolio.

Hannah Carrick, Regional Development Officer for the North West said: “The demonstration was a tremendous success and we received many compliments from spectators. I would like to thank our volunteers and Reaseheath College for working together to put on such a fascinating and educational event.”


Equine students provide arena party at HOYS

Our equine students were commended for the professional way they provided the arena party for one of the world’s premier events, the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
Students and staff worked alongside international course designers Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater, learning new skills and making new contacts. Competitors included elite showjumpers John, Robert and Ellen Whitaker and Ben Mayer.

Bob Ellis commented: “Yet again, Reaseheath’s arena party was exceptional and helped us to put on a superb show at this world class venue.”
Reaseheath’s arena parties have built up such a reputation that earlier this year we were approached to provide an arena team for Bolesworth International and for the British Show Jumping National Championships at Stoneleigh Park – and we’ve already been booked for Bolesworth and HOYS in 2016.

A team of Levels 1, 2 and 3 students also stewarded the dressage and showjumping arenas at Kelsall Hill last week for British Eventing.

Watch our equine team and hear Bob Ellis’ comments as our students prepare the course for Bolesworth International.


Equine students provide arena party at world class Bolesworth

Our equine students were commended for the professional way they provided the arena party for Bolesworth International, our local world class showjumping event.

A team of 40 students and staff were on duty in all three arenas for four full days of action last week, working alongside international course designers Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater.  Competitors included world famous showjumpers such as John and Robert Whitaker, Nick Skelton and Scott Brash.

Our students also provided the arena party for the Equestrian.com intermediate dressage to music class, which saw London 2012 British team gold medallist Laura Tomlinson going head to head with 2013 European team medallist Michael Eilberg.

Bolesworth has invested thousands of pounds to build up this exciting, multi national 4 star event, which has been hailed as an industry leader.

Show founder Nina Barbour, who is Managing Director of Bolesworth, said: “Reaseheath’s arena party were extremely competent and professional. We really appreciated their teamwork, which helped us to deliver showjumping at its highest level.”

Watch our equine team and hear Bob Ellis’ comments as our students  prepare the course for Bolesworth International. 


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 www.gofundme.com/Vmnmt

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