Last academic year, 2013-2014, was a busy one for equine staff and students alike.
Our new MSc in Equine Behaviour, Performance and Training has seen really strong recruitment and we are all looking forward to welcoming the first ever M level students to Sparsholt on the 2nd of October 2014.
Collaborative research projects have also been a feature of the past academic year with several planned for this year. Two BSc Equine Studies year 3 students, Hana Wilson and Sarah Nottingham, took part in the Advancing Equine Science Excellence (AESE) Increasing Participation in Equestrianism (IPiE) project which involved students from 16 other land based colleges and veterinary schools, with a further AESE project, Equine End of Life (EEoL) taking place this year which current BSc Equine Studies and Science students are involved in.
FdSc Equine Studies year 2 students also completed a research project for the international feed company, Dodson & Horrell Limited which has led to the establishment of the Dodson & Horrell Sparsholt Research Bursary.
All equine and animal management students are able to enter an essay writing competition with two being awarded a £500 research bursary to complete a project for Dodson & Horrell as their year 3 dissertation.
Further collaborative projects are also underway with the Department of Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth so the research output from the equine section should be very exciting this year.
Students from across the Equine courses enjoyed a study tour to Amsterdam and watched 3 days of the Jumping Amsterdam Grand Prix festival and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series competitions, including watching Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro perform to their new music for the first time in the Freestyle.
Equine students spent a week riding across the Steppes of Mongolia on a horseback expedition of a lifetime (although the fermented mares milk was not to everyone’s taste!)
Places on the upcoming study tour to Equitana, the biggest equestrian fair in the world which takes place in Germany, are still available so contact Sarah Loveday Lovell or Katy Robson for more information.
All of us in the equine team look forward to welcoming new and returning students and hope that our upcoming year will be challenging and above all else, great fun.
Year 2 Equine Higher Education students visited the RSPCA Lockwood Centre for horses and donkeys recently as part of their Health and Welfare unit. The students have been learning about the impact of the current horse crisis in England and Wales on equine welfare charities and a visit to the rescue centre was a great opportunity to consolidate this learning.
Anna Hemmings, the Centre Manager, kindly escorted the students on a tour of the site including the isolation unit, the donkey unit and the paddocks. Her vast knowledge and understanding of the welfare industry gave the students a real insight into the problems facing equine charities at this current time.
The students were surprised to find that the majority of horses at the centre were not older horses that no longer had a use but young, untrained animals that owners could no longer deal with. This is perhaps indicative of the current overbreeding problem in the UK combined with the financial hardship faced by so many.
There were some lovely horses, ponies and donkeys all in need of good homes but somehow we managed to return without one! If anyone is interested in fostering or rescuing animals from Lockwood please see their website for details.
As part of the Leisure and Event Management module a group of Equine BSc third years were required to organise an event which involved 11 equine teams from various colleges.
This is an annual occurrence within the academic year of equine colleges however very few are organised by students. On the 19th March the event took place; with the assistance of students and staff the horses and yard was prepared for the arrival of colleges at 9:30am.
The day involved a dressage competition, show jumping competition and a quiz with the top three placings as follows; Sparsholt College 3rd, Hadlow College 2nd and Warwickshire College as champions for 2014 taking home the Sparsholt Challenge Shield. Rosettes and prizes courtesy of Robinsons Equestrian were awarded to the successful teams.
As a College we were highly complimented on the immaculate presentation of the horses, the atmosphere and the organisation of the day; all in all, a successful Inter-College competition. Many thanks must go to Kieran Treacy for his assistance in organising the competition and to Gabbie McHenry for the use of the facilities at the equine centre.