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:

Reaseheath College welcomes royal visitor at Cheshire Show

Reaseheath College gave Sophie, Countess of Wessex, a right royal welcome when she visited the college’s award winning stand at the Cheshire Show earlier this week (June 23 and 24)

Her Royal Highness, who is Cheshire Show President, spent 20 minutes chatting to staff and students and inspecting the stand’s activities. She particularly admired Reaseheath’s mechanical horse and a pizza oven built by construction students and was keen to find out more about apprenticeships.

Stand organiser Stephanie Owen said: “The Countess seemed to be very knowledgeable and supportive of landbased industries and asked a lot of pertinent questions about our work with rural businesses. She seemed very natural and was obviously enjoying carrying out her duties at the show.”

The Nantwich college’s visitor friendly stand had earlier taken the top award in the education section, with judge Marie Birkenhead paying tribute to the range of activities on offer and the enthusiastic and well informed staff.

Mrs Birkenhead said: “Reaseheath College’s stand was far and away the best exhibit in its section and really met the criteria, which is to educate and inform visitors about the countryside. We were impressed with the attractive display offering activities for all ages, but what was most outstanding was the wonderful welcome which all visitors received when they went on the stand.”

Top crowd puller on the stand was a Caterpillar digger which gave visitors the chance to operate the controls. Apart from riding the mechanical horse, families were able to have a go on a climbing wall and try milking a model cow. Other activities, under the banner ‘Do Something Different’, included a display of the latest horticultural technology and a chance to make floral buttonholes and beaded dragonflies. Animals from the college’s zoo and a scarecrow from this summer’s ‘Superhero’ maize maze were also on display.

Reaseheath agriculture students took part in breed showing and young handler classes in the cattle show ring with heifers and a cow in milk from the Reaseheath Holstein dairy herd. The student team were awarded first place in the ‘tidy lines’ competition.

Deputy Marketing Manager Faye Thomson-Butt said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate the range of vocational courses we offer. We are very proud of the success of our students and coming to the Cheshire Show each year gives us a great platform to show the public what we can do.”

Caption: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, joins Stephanie Owen and agricultural lecturer Mark Walton on Reaseheath College’s stand at the Cheshire Show.

Equine students with Guy Williams

Reaseheath was riding high at HOYS

Reaseheath College equine students and staff came under the spotlight at the world’s most famous horse show, the Horse of the Year Show, by providing the arena party for the fourth consecutive year.

Elle Germany gets a cuddle from Bob Ellis

Elle Germany gets a cuddle from Bob Ellis

A team of 38 students and two staff were on duty for last week’s event helping international course designers Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater build courses to test the world’s leading showjumpers.

The students received unique training and experience and also took the opportunity to catch up with top ranked showjumpers including Guy Williams, an early international class winner.

Led by FE Programme Leader Sarah Houghton and course manager Kerry Nunns, the Nantwich college’s team did such a professional job that they have already been booked as the arena party for HOYS 2015.

The arena party at work

The arena party at work

Bob Ellis, who was lead course designer for the London 2012 Olympics, said: “Yet again, Reaseheath’s arena party has been exceptional and are helping us to put on a superb show.  All the students are easy to work with, listen to instructions and have a great sense of humour. They are a credit to the college and to Sarah and Kerry, who do such a great job in keeping everyone motivated because they lead from the front.”

“All riders aspire to compete and win at HOYS and it makes such a difference to us knowing that we can rely on our arena team to do a professional job.”

Reaseheath also provides the arena party for Bolesworth International and other prestigious venues. Students from all courses, from diplomas to degrees, are encouraged to take part.

For further details about Reaseheath’s equine courses see

Racing careers could be a good bet for Reaseheath equine students

Reaseheath College equine students are keen to kick on into horse racing careers following an action packed event focused on the industry.

Jobs from jockey to media specialist were described by key members of Cheshire’s thriving and highly competitive horse racing industry at a careers day organised by the Cheshire Racing Hub and held at Reaseheath’s Equestrian Centre.

The range of opportunities seemed a good bet for the 120 students who attended, many of whom were eager to learn about related careers such as bloodstock breeding, farriery, physiotherapy and equine nutrition.

Speakers included Carrie Ford, a Co-ordinator for the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust, who described the varied roles on a professional racing yard and how well paid many of the jobs are, with a guaranteed pension scheme and a percentage of the prize money going to staff. An assistant trainer and top jockey who raced in the Grand National, Carrie also brought along some racing tack and equipment.

Point to point trainer Oliver Greenall rode two of his racehorses in the college’s indoor arena to demonstrate training for optimum fitness while Will Kinsey, National Hunt trainer and bloodstock specialist, described buying young horses from sales and what to look for. He also talked the students through online racing websites and how to enter horses for relevant races.

Sarah Beattie, Marketing Manager from the Northern Racing College, gave students a taster of race riding on Reaseheath’s mechanical horse ‘Flicka’ and described the courses and apprenticeships available for those who want to specialise in racing.

Lucinda Dutton from Chester Racecourse talked about her role in marketing and her work with sponsors. She also discussed the size and scope of the industry and the many graduate traineeships available.

Jo Miles, Head Veterinary Nurse for the Hampton Veterinary Group, talked about dealing with injuries and described routes into veterinary nursing.

The event was organised by Emma Owen and Sarah Hamlyn, Project Co-ordinators for the Cheshire Racing Hub as part of its ‘careers in racing’ initiative. Funded by the British Horseracing Authority and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Cheshire Racing Hub aims to link schools, colleges and businesses so they connect into the exciting sport of horse racing.

The initiative is being led by Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of its rural regeneration strategy and is supported by the county’s leading racing yards and associated businesses. Project partners include Reaseheath College, the University of Chester and the University of Liverpool’s Veterinary School.

Recognising that horse racing is a key area for employment, Reaseheath’s  equine team is now looking at more ways to help students to prepare for careers in the industry

Equine Programme Leader Sarah Houghton said: “The event was a fantastic success and the calibre of guests and speakers was excellent. Their experience and passion for the industry was tangible and the students came away with lots of exciting opportunities to consider. Horse racing is big business, particularly in Cheshire, and it offers many career options.”

“I am very grateful for the time and effort put in by all the speakers and particularly to Sarah Hamlyn and Emma Owen for organising the event and giving our students such a fantastic opportunity.”

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management student Tara Taylor, 18, who owns an ex-racehorse herself, said: “This has been a really good event.  I’ve learned a lot about the racing industry and I’m now really interested in looking at a career in the bloodstock industry.”

For further details visit and


Rare breed ponies help to educate Reaseheath students

Two rare breed ponies are helping Reaseheath College undergraduates to understand how the equine mind works.

Exmoor ponies Yasmin and Yohan, who are 19 months old, are being handled and trained by students studying for degrees in Animal Behaviour and Welfare or Zoo Management at the Nantwich, Cheshire college.

The ponies, which were bred by BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, began their education at Reaseheath’s equine centre last year and were featured in several programmes of the popular TV series.

Adam has since donated the filly and gelding to Reaseheath and they have joined other rare breed paddock animals which are used to teach students about their care. Many Reaseheath students go on to work in zoos and farm parks and find the experience invaluable to prepare for their future careers.

The students are training the ponies to lead on a halter in a round pen using natural horsemanship methods. They are also getting them used to being handled and groomed in the hopes that they can be entered into regional agricultural shows such as the Cheshire Show and Nantwich Show next year.

Madeline Harrison BSc ABW works with Yohan

Madeline Harrison BSc ABW works with Yohan

Hoofstock Keeper Kerri Robson hopes to set up a Showing Group for students who are interested in preparing and exhibiting animals in the showring. Apart from training the ponies, members will be involved in bathing, grooming and transporting them. Interested students may also get the chance to show Reaseheath’s rare Golden Guernsey goats.

Plans are already in place to include a fun rare breeds show in the programme for Reaseheath’s popular Family Festival, to be held this year on Sunday May 18.

Kerri successfully showed Reaseheath’s Welsh Section A pony Cassie last year at the Cheshire Show. She explained: “ I am hoping to show the students how rewarding showing animals can be.”

“Thanks to Adam, our students have the chance to show well bred and attractive ponies which will hopefully catch the judges’ eye. It is also an opportunity for them to learn how to do basic groundwork with untrained ponies. Being able to gaining this sort of experience is quite rare and a great privilege.”

Madeline Harrison, 18, who has volunteered to help with the ponies along with fellow students Sophie Dockray, Dani Cowell and Daniel Crutchley, said: “It has been very interesting to learn how to assess the ponies’ behaviour and how to work with them.”

Videos kick off careers in racing

Videos promoting the diverse and exciting careers in the horse racing industry have been released by The Cheshire Racing Hub.

The Racing Hub was launched last year with the aim of highlighting to young people the racing careers available to them in Cheshire. Reaseheath College is an education partner, along with the University of Chester and the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. The initiative is funded by the British Horse Racing Authority and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The six videos focus on inspiring young people who are already working in the industry and turn the spotlight on careers in equine veterinary medicine, training, breeding and sales, work riding, barn management and racecourse personnel.  An introductory video features recently retired footballer Michael Owen, who is a local racehorse owner and racing enthusiast.

The videos can be viewed on Cheshire Racing Hub’s YouTube channel and official website.  They were made by Equine Productions, which produces bespoke videos for the racing and equestrian industries.

A successful preview of the videos was held at Bishop Heber High School, Malpas, earlier this month, accompanied by a talk by local point-to-point trainer Oliver Greenall, who described his role and his racing experiences.

Over 10 students expressed an interest in finding out more about careers in racing and a behind-the-scenes taster day for these students will be scheduled to give them a real insight into the industry.

With strong initial interest following this pilot, the Racing Hub is now looking at rolling out a similar programme across selected schools in Cheshire.

Racing Hub Chair Kay Kent said: “We are delighted to have produced some really informative and lively videos which relate and talk to young people about careers in racing and will live long into the future through Careers in Racing.  We look forward to taking Bishop Heber students on their next steps to finding out more about the exciting careers in Cheshire.”