Writtle University College unveiled its fantastic new equine facilities and resources at an Equine Showcase packed full of inspiring interactive workshops!
The event - on Wednesday 14 March – gave around 300 visitors a taster of the range of exciting equine work at Writtle, and the dynamic equine community on campus.
Following a £2million investment, all of Writtle’s equine facilities have been brought onto one site at its Cow Watering Campus, which is now a central hub for equine teaching and research, boasting the latest in scientific technologies.
The investment enhances the student experience by enabling all practical sessions to be carried out in one extended space, whether it is using breeding horses or youngstock, the therapy units or the riding facilities.
Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor of Writtle University College, said: “Our Equine Showcase was a great way to officially open our new horse breeding facilities and our specialist equine therapy and performance suites at our Cow Watering Campus. Our equine industry partners, students and staff presented a rich and varied programme of workshops and demonstrations for the hundreds of visitors to the event.
“Our professional resources, allied to an expert staff team and rich and varied industry networks, provide excellent opportunities for our equine students in both Further and Higher Education to develop the skills and knowledge that the industry needs.”
A Stud facility, extended outdoor menage, a second therapy barn, oval horsewalker, DIY stables and an indoor school have been added to the facilities already on the campus, which include an equine water treadmill, solarium and indoor riding arenas.
Caroline Flanagan, who heads up the Higher Education Equine and Veterinary Physiotherapy courses, said: “At Writtle, we strive to achieve a graduate who can put science into practice. Our facilities are vital to support this very applied approach to education and this £2million investment brings all of our equine activities together onto one campus as an equine centre of excellence.
“This event enabled our students to be involved in something special; I hope they learnt a lot from the experience of being involved and further developed their skills in terms of communicating their specialist knowledge to the general public. I was proud of every single one of them!”
Lauren Hunt, 22, from Rayleigh, who studied a Further Education course at Writtle before progressing onto the Integrated Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy, said: “My course is designed to develop the key skills required to be an effective, self-employed veterinary physiotherapist. We’re always being offered work experience placements through the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists, which accredits my course, and established veterinary hydrotherapy or physiotherapy centres.
“The latest technology and facilities we have at Writtle are important as they enable us to carry out our research. If it wasn’t for Writtle having this equipment – and the industry contacts to source different resources as well - I would not have been able to complete my research.”
Kaile-Louise Sherry, from Havering-Atte-Bower, near Romford, helped organise the event. The 23-year-old BSc (Hons) Equine Performance and Business Management student said: “I cannot thank Writtle University College enough for allowing me to help organise and run this fantastic event and the staff have given me full support and encouragement every step of the way. I am so proud to say that I am a Writtle University student and I feel that now I can achieve so much with the help and support of Writtle University College staff. As I would like to go into a career in Event Management the experience of this has been invaluable.”
Sian Murray, from Brentwood, was one of the students taking part in the event. The 21-year-old BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science student said: “The facilities and wide range of horses at Writtle give us the opportunity to apply the behavioural theory we learn about. This not only helps us learn, but prepares us for industry life. By having lecturers with real-life experience, we really get the holistic view on all aspects of retraining and improving the welfare of horses.”
The event marked the official opening of the new Stud area, with the ribbon cut by local vet Chris House, of House and Jackson Veterinary Hospital.
Writtle has a fantastic track record in equine breeding. The Stud won a British Eventing Breeders’ Medal this year for the leading British-bred horse in the Eventing Five Year Old Championships. The Stud also produced the Reserve Champion showjumper at the British Equestrian Federation’s Futurity Championships 2017. The champion Riding Horse at the Horse of the Year Show in 2016 and 2017 was also born at Writtle.
The workshops at the Showcase were enjoyable for visitors with an interest in improving their own human-equine partnership, and were inspirational for those thinking of studying an equine course at Writtle.
They included behaviour displays to demonstrate how horses learn; painted horses to illustrate superficial and deep muscle layers; working horses on the water treadmill; breeding advice; biomechanical analysis of gait; rider 'MOTs’; massage, stretching and sports taping; feeding hints; the principles of training; and even a lower limb dissection.
There were demonstrations and an exhibitors area featuring several organisations and individuals in the equine industry including House & Jackson veterinary surgeons, Quintic Biomechanics, Egger BESTbox, Emily Jones Saddlery and the farrier Martin Grady.
• Find out more about studying an Equine or Veterinary Physiotherapy course at writtle.ac.uk/courses