28 Apr 2021

Bethan Evans, BSc Animal Training and Performance student blog

Hartpury student Bethan Evans
“Hartpury is ideal for me, with its industry links and large animal collection.”

Hi, my name is Bethan Evans, and I’m a first-year student at Hartpury University, studying BSc in Animal Training and Performance

Why Hartpury University?
I love the lecturers’ subject knowledge, the family environment, the support networks in place and the facilities on site.

I’ve had a passion for working with animals from a young age. I got my first dog when I turned 10 years old and since then I’ve been in love with the animal industry. My animal education started with my Hartpury College diploma. Now I’m continuing to develop my skills with a degree at Hartpury too. I knew that Hartpury would be ideal for me due to its industry links with The Kennel Club and the large animal collection on site.

My course
My course is a mix of both practical, theory and exam-based sessions. Although we’ve had a lot of online lectures due to the pandemic, the small class size means we’ve still been doing practical sessions on campus. We’ve had Covid-secure lab sessions in Biology, animal training and opportunities to handle animals in their natural environment. I’m learning about all animals, not just one specific species.

My favourite module is Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Guest speakers have included professionals working with and training detection dogs, which has been really interesting. But Animal Training and Performance, which is my main module, is a close second!

With this degree, I have the option to do a placement year to decide if this is the career right for me. With module leaders who are all individual experts in their field, this choice will become much easier over time, as I discover more about the subject and where I want to go in the future.

Preparing for the future
Hartpury is encouraging me to follow my dreams and providing all the support I needed along the way! I’m still early in my studies, but potential career paths include dog handler with the police, zookeeper or even working within agility industries. I would like to gain my degree and then complete a PGCE to teach college or primary students; keeping my interest in animals very much alive.

Alongside my studies, I also have the opportunity to volunteer in different industries, either choosing somewhere local to me or expanding my horizons elsewhere.

Practical sessions
Trips on my course will usually consist of Crufts, a large event including agility, obedience and showing and when given the chance, we can access the 70 different species on campus to train for our own knowledge. My favourite practical session so far was with my training and performance lecturer, who brought her own dogs in to demonstrate classical conditioning. I love how lecturers always find interesting ways to run practicals, so we’re able to engage.

Outside of my course, I’ve been walking Ralph the therapy dog, which was amazing in helping build my confidence for on-campus lectures and just relaxing.

Hartpury life during Covid-19
Hartpury continues to provide practical sessions in a safe way adhering to social distancing, mask zones in areas of close proximity and smaller practical sessions to allow for some normality. Regular emails keep us up to date, and with on-site testing, we could be safe with our families during holiday periods.

A final piece of advice
Hartpury has such a wide range of facilities and clubs that suit all lifestyles, I recommend getting as involved as you can. I’ve been having riding lessons, despite not being an equine student, and taking part in online socials with the Give it a Go and Animal Society. You’ll get to make new friends and gain future experiences.

Written By
Bethan Evans
Female student with laptop
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