Ella Smith, BSc Equine Performance and Rehabilitation student blog
Hi, I’m Ella and I’m just finishing my first year at Hartpury University, studying BSc Equine Performance and Rehabilitation.
My dream university
I’ve wanted to work with horses since I was 12 years old. Hartpury has always been my dream university. I wanted to go to a university that would not only teach me about horses, but would also prepare me to work in the equestrian industry, and Hartpury has not let me down!
A typical day as an equine student
A typical day for me begins at around 7-8am, when I get up and prepare for the day ahead. On the days that I have a 9am lecture I begin with breakfast and get ready to the first lecture, and on other days I start with an hour of work, preparing for the day ahead.
I normally have two to three lectures a day, and always set aside three hours to complete additional work following what’s been covered during the day. This leaves plenty of time for other activities such as day trips into Gloucester or Cheltenham, a riding lesson or workout in the gym on campus.
In the evenings, I finish by having dinner with my flatmates and then either preparing any work I need for early the next morning, or just relaxing in the quad with some friends.
No two days are the same
My favourite module so far is Skills for the Equine Rehabilitation Professional. It’s the most practical as it includes days working on the yard in order to prepare for a future in the industry.
These days include all yard duties such as mucking out, sweeping, grooming, turning out and riding, and while they are tiring no two days are the same, so it is never boring! We even get to work on our lunging, which has really improved my confidence when it comes to handling new horses.
I also enjoy the Introduction to Equine Veterinary Science module, as I have always had an interest in veterinary science. I’ve been learning about diseases and how to perform veterinary assessments on horses. But it’s not all classroom sessions. We’ve recently had practicals to learn about haematology and worm larvae counts.
Equine Functional Anatomy is also really good fun (as are all of the modules we cover!), especially learning about the different bones and muscles within a horse that enable it to move and work as well as it does. We’ve had some amazing opportunities to discover more about the horse through dissecting a distal limb, kidneys, lungs, hearts and even a horse’s head.
Plenty of opportunities to ride
One of the most exciting parts about university is the variety of clubs you have the option of joining. I’m part of the equestrian club, which means that while I wasn’t able to bring a horse to Hartpury with me, I’m still able to have riding lessons on the universities horses.
There are plenty of yards near the university offering lessons too. So even if you can’t bring your own horse with you, there is plenty to do to stay busy. I also like to help my friends look after their own horses, so I can still spend plenty of time on the yard.
Student life during COVID-19
While this year had been very different to most first years, I can confidently say that the quality of teaching and amount of support available hasn’t been affected. Although teaching has been online, staff are always available and very helpful if you have any questions about anything.
Where possible, practicals on the yard, classroom and labs have been carried out safely, in person.
Confident about the future
I’ve always dreamed of one day owning and running my own equine yard, once I’ve gained enough experience from working at different competitive yards.
The modules I’m studying in this degree are really useful in preparing me for this. In particular Management of Equestrian Facilities, which focuses on the best conditions and environments to keep domesticated horses in, and why some yards are more suitable than others.
After nearly completing my first year, I’m feeling confident about the future. As well as developing my skills for working in the equine industry, there are so many opportunities within the course and around campus to volunteer, improve practical skills or even just for fun!
Ella’s filmed a short vlog to tell you more about her student life on the BSc Equine Performance and Rehabilitation degree at Hartpury University. Discover how the experience Ella's gaining in her modules is preparing her for her goal of owning and running her own equine yard in the future.