With all eyes on the Cheltenham Festival this week, Hartpury University has launched a programme of specialist degrees driven by industry professionals to enable graduates to succeed in the global horseracing industry.
The BA (Hons) International Horseracing Business and BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation degrees provide students with the industry experience that employers are looking for, to increase the effectiveness of their business.
The performance and rehabilitation course combines industry experience with strong practical knowledge of racehorses, while the business students will take a closer look at the governance and structure of international racing.
Impact-driven equine research at Hartpury – one of the largest equine educational establishments in the world – is aimed at further enhancing welfare standards and ensuring best practice within the industry.
The racing modules are being taught by lecturers with in-depth experience of racing and a wealth of contacts: Saranna Jordan worked for Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams for a decade and was assistant to 15-time champion trainer Martin Pipe; Fiona Dowling worked for Gold Cup and Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott as well as spending many years working internationally.
Students are also gaining hands-on experience working with the world-class facilities at Hartpury’s Equestrian Centre, including the Racewood MK10 Racing Simulator within the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance.
“The degrees are ideal for anyone with a passion for horseracing both here in the UK and globally,” explained Saranna.
“The world is a smaller place, the industry is constantly evolving, and we want our students to play a part in that.
“The degrees have been designed to meet the needs of the industry and our contacts have been very supportive of our courses.
“Many of the students are currently working with trainers locally, which enables our graduates to hit the ground running and go straight into their chosen career.
“The racing industry is massive, employing nearly 90,000 people either directly or indirectly in the UK, with a wide range of career options available.
“I would love to see some of our students having a significant impact and playing important roles within the horseracing industry in future years.”
Students gain practical knowledge and experience on placements across the horseracing industry, including at training yards, breeding establishments, hospitality businesses and racecourses.
Fiona, who led Silver Birch into the winner’s enclosure after he won the 2007 Grand National, added: “We have had positive feedback from industry that our students are coming across really well, appear extremely committed and are showing lots of ambition.
“Being based in Gloucestershire, a hotbed for racing, we have a number of racing stables, stud farms and horseracing-related businesses on our doorstep, not to mention Cheltenham Racecourse.
“The study trip to Ireland provided students with a comprehensive overview of how the Irish bloodstock and racing industry operates.
“It was invaluable in providing students with the opportunity to network with leading industry figures who will be able to aid them with their career progression in the thoroughbred industry.
“Many of our students have already gained part-time jobs in the sport and are making valuable contacts, not only in Gloucestershire but across the UK. Hopefully these may lead on to full-time careers.”
Hartpury graduates have progressed into careers with a variety of organisations within the equine industry, including the Jockey Club, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, World Horse Welfare and the British Horseracing Authority.