A group of Norwegian students recently swapped their own elite equine training environment to spend two weeks at the world’s largest equine college and step into the shoes of a Hartpury student.
The students, from Melsom College, spent a packed fortnight experiencing all the things an equine student at Hartpury might do from tacking up and riding to rehabilitating horses at the college’s Equine Therapy Centre.
The partnership between the two colleges has been in place since 2010, and each year the Norwegian college brings students over to experience the packed equine programme.
Melsom student, Ida Marie, 17, said: “I have learned a lot since I’ve been here at the Hartpury equine centre. It’s been very interesting to see how some things are done differently here to how we do them at home.
“Hartpury is a much bigger campus than we have at home as well so it’s nice to experience a different environment. I like that the learning style here – it is not only in the classroom but also outside with practical sessions.
“The staff have also been very helpful in helping us to settle in here and if we’re stuck, then they are happy to help us.”
As well as equine therapy and riding, the students got the chance to visit the Blue Cross Rehoming Centre in Burford, which re-homes animals from cats and hamsters to horses and donkeys.
For the students, the visit was a chance to experience different practices and methods to those which might be applied back in Norway, as well as to share their own knowledge with Hartpury.
It was arranged as part of the Leonardo Da Vinci Project, which has now been replaced by Erasmus+ - the new European funding programme for education, training, youth and sport. The initiative offers students from the European Union and the European Economic Area the opportunity to study in other countries, helping to develop their skills.
Due to the success of the project, Hartpury’s animal department will be running a similar scheme for Melsom students from February next year. Hartpury students will also have the chance to visit Melsom during 2015.