28 Apr 2021

Iona Robinson, BSc Equine Science student blog

“I’ve discovered my love for equine nutrition at Hartpury.”

Hi, I’m Iona, a second-year student studying BSc Equine Science at Hartpury University.

Studying my passion

I chose this degree because it covers all aspects of equine science, allowing me to discover where my main interests lie. During my first year, I discovered my love for equine nutrition and aim for this to be the area of industry I work towards as a future career.

I chose Hartpury as it offered me the rare opportunity to study what I am most passionate about, whilst continuing to train and compete my showjumper. Hartpury offers weekly competitions for students of all levels, as well as opportunities to have private lessons on site or externally.

A typical day

My timetable varies day to day. However, an average day would consist of three lectures covering modules such as Equine Nutrition, Applied Stud Management, Equine Biomechanics, Equine Exercise Physiology and Undergraduate Research Process. Between lectures, I block out my time to fit in reading and assignment work, the gym, and more time on the yard.

As a student, horse owner and barn mentor, my daily routine starts around 6.30am. Caring for my horse and barn mentor duties take me to 8am, usually followed by a morning ride before lectures.

Evening yard duties start at 4.30pm, finishing between 5.30pm-7.30pm, depending how long I stay and chat! I always allow myself time to relax in the evening to recharge and set myself up for another early start. 

Gaining invaluable knowledge

My two favourite modules are Equine Nutrition and Applied Stud Management. After learning the basic principles of nutrition in my first year, the second year Equine Nutrition module has allowed me to apply my knowledge to numerous case studies.

We’ve also heard different perspectives from those directly in the industry, including Kate Hore, Head Nutritionist at NAF. Within my Applied Stud Management module, I’ve experienced some incredible guest lectures and virtual tours from industry experts. This has allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge as well as opening my eyes to the range of career paths within the industry.

Hartpury’s incredible equine facilities, such as the high-speed treadmill within the Equine Therapy Centre, are frequently utilised within practical sessions for Equine Exercise Physiology.

Recently, we used a heart rate monitor on the high-speed treadmill compared to over ground exercise. These practical sessions allow me to see the theory I am learning put into practise.

Prepared for industry

To think when I started at Hartpury in 2019, I had never read a scientific journal, referenced a source or completed an academic poster. The knowledge and support I’ve received from lecturers has allowed me excel my skills beyond anything I thought I was capable of.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to work on my personal struggle with presentations. When I started at Hartpury, I hoped that my first presentation would have been my last. But now I’ve develop my skills and confidence, and am voluntarily involved in a virtual case study research project. I’ll present in front of a panel of industry experts from the charity World Horse Welfare and British Equestrian Federation committee; Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence.

These rare opportunities outside of my course are not only developing my academic skills, but preparing me to enter the industry after my degree.

My future career

I’m currently aiming for a career in nutrition. After completing my degree, I plan to undertake a Master’s in Equine Science to help me reach this goal.

Within my Equine Nutrition module, we’ve had multiple sessions working on the rationing process. Applying this complex process to a range of case studies within lectures, has made me feel confident and equipped to enter the nutrition industry.

Life during Covid-19

I am so excited that lectures are beginning to return onsite, allowing me to undertake practical sessions within Exercise Physiology such as a treadmill exercise test.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Hartpury has offered complete support to students, allowing me to continue my learning experience whilst online.

Meet Iona
Iona’s filmed a short vlog to give you an insight into student life on the BSc Equine Science degree at Hartpury University. She’s enjoying studying a range of modules, developing her showjumping skills, volunteering as a barn mentor, and discovering potential career paths for the future.

Written By
Iona Robinson
Female student with laptop
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