Writtle University College is launching a new Equine Academy to support talented competition riders while they study for a degree or other Higher Education qualification.
The elite academy - which is open for applications until 31 July 2018, with the first entrants starting in September - will train six to 12 riders as they study any Higher Education award at Writtle University College, not just equine courses.
The high-level programme will support competitive equestrians for a year or more - depending on their progress – in their chosen discipline, whether that is Dressage, Showjumping, Eventing, or another recognised horse sport.
Applicants will need to be determined and dedicated, with a proven track record in competition riding, but not necessarily horse owners.
Caroline Flanagan, who heads up the Higher Education equine programmes at WUC, said: “We have an excellent reputation for delivering exceptional equine degree programmes and enhancing students’ employability with a practical, hands-on learning approach. In addition to this, we have recently invested £2million in our equine facilities, including a range of specialist equipment. The industry links and reputation built around our courses have enabled the team to create the WUC Equine Academy.
“By drawing together the disciplines at WUC, we can offer an effective blend of training looking at all aspects of the rider, the horse and their performance relationship, with the aim of enabling them to realise their competition ambitions.
“This means that students will be given expert coaching in competition riding as well as fitness and nutrition advice so they can enhance their performance as a rider. Alongside this, they will be able to access equine sports therapy, gait analysis and nutrition advice for their horse.
“As a result, competition for spaces is expected to be high as the academy offers students the opportunity to pursue their dream of being a professional rider while continuing with their education.”
The students will benefit from ridden training sessions from experienced in-house coaches as well as professional external trainers. Their fitness training will include sport psychology sessions, Pilates classes, cardiovascular training, coaching sessions, gym strengthening sessions and nutrition advice.
They will have an individualised yearly planner for competitive progress and goal setting, with some classroom-based learning. There will also be high-intensity technical and tactical sessions over one week in October.
The horse will be allocated a space in the dedicated academy block of DIY stables at Writtle University College, with an associated “en suite” sand-pen, which will incur a cost to the student. If the rider does not own a horse, they can apply to have a WUC-owned young horse, produced for competition or sale, shared between two or three academy riders.
As part of the academy, qualified veterinary physiotherapists and chiropractic staff will assess the horse, which will be given regular massages by supervised veterinary physiotherapy or equine sports therapy WUC students. Experts at the University College will carry out a biomechanical gait assessment on the horse and look at saddle/rider asymmetry and rein balance, while qualified equine nutritionists will give advice.
As well as meeting their academy riding commitments, students will need to perform well in their Higher Education programme assessments throughout the year, including maintaining a high attendance record.
For more information about the Equine Academy and to apply, please contact Jane Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org