BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation student Isy (Isabelle) Anderson has been named the winner of The British Equestrian Trade Association's (BETA'S) Thesis of the Year Award. The competition recognises and rewards excellence in undergraduate study.
Isy, who was one of four finalists, presented her impressive research to a judging panel on October 31st. Her thesis was a driven by a long-standing commitment to physical and mental wellbeing of horses.
After developing a particular interest in sacroiliac issues and the poor prognosis sacroiliac dysfunction carries, Isy realised that there was a huge gap in research regarding effective rehabilitation of SI dysfunction as well as a lack of research regarding owner influence on rehabilitation practices and outcomes.
She strongly believes rehabilitation should be targeted and developed based on the individual needs and progression of each horse.
She noticed a large proportion of studies on the SI region were focused on competition horses as opposed to the general equine population, meaning current rehabilitation practices for leisure horses may be suboptimal.
With support from her supervisor, lecturer by Briony Witherow, Isy decided to investigate owner interaction and influence on SI pain rehabilitation and tried to map out current SI rehabilitation methods used across the UK.
Her dissertation is titled "Owner Satisfaction with Rehabilitation Practices for Chronic Sacroiliac Pain in Equines in the UK since the year 2000".
Isy said: "I really poured my heart into my dissertation as I'm so passionate about owners, paraprofessionals and veterinarians developing healthy relationships and working closely to benefit our horses. We all have the horse's best interests at heart and by working together we can formulate targeted, effective rehabilitation plans that can adapt as the horse progresses."
"Owners have such a huge influence on equine welfare as they often dictate day-to-day management so I think making research as applicable and as accessible as possible is vital to help them make the best decisions for their horses."
Isy has always wanted to work within the equine sector. After completing a college course at Writtle University College (WUC), she was offered a scholarship which led to her to progress onto WUC's BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation course.
After experiencing some hardships and being unable to produce the work she knew she was capable of, Isy made the difficult decision to repeat her second year.
After consistently receiving first-class marks for her work she realised that it was absolutely the right decision to make. She now hopes to motivate and empower other students who may be struggling to take active steps to improve their education and achieve their best.
Isy said: "Everyday I am so thankful I made that tough decision to repeat a year as, otherwise, I would never have achieved a 1st class degree or TOTY2021. I actively encourage students to make decisions that will benefit their education and help to break the taboo of repeating or deferring a year."