it is the best job in the world
Course Leader and Lecturer, Equine Science and Equine
Science and Thoroughbred Management degrees, Abingdon and Witney College
My passion has always been horses – but it wasn’t until
later in my life that I made them the focus of my career. Now I’m teaching and researching their
behaviour - as well as many other aspects of equine science – and it is the
best job in the world.
Now I course lead the BSc Equine Science and Thoroughbred
Management degree (EQT), which is unique in the UK and can take students across
the world as it caters to a global industry – from veterinary care and breeding
to managing race courses and studs and much more. I also have the BSc Equine Science degree
under my care. From the beginning of my academic career I have been involved
with Equitation Science, still a new area of research, which makes it very
exciting. As well as my own research I am also supporting students in their
research activities. I’ve encouraged them to attend the International Society
for Equine Science (ISES) annual conference and to date two of them have had
their work accepted by the Society and have travelled to France to present their
abstracts at the latest Conference. I also work collaboratively with other
members of ISES– and the impact of the Society on changes in equine legislation
has had an effect around the world, with groups such as the British Horse
Society and the RSPCA endorsing research carried out by ISES.
My own research currently focuses on two areas - road safety
for riders and their mounts and the impact of bitless bridles on horse
behaviour and welfare. My students have
conducted behavioural studies of horses’ responses to visual and audio stimuli
and also the most effective ways to introduce and familiarise a horse to
unusual objects, along with much research into the racing world, looking at
attendance at racecourses and reproductive issues of Thoroughbreds.
My recent road safety research since 2013 include the
significance of black and white used on a rider’s tabard instead of the
traditional ‘high vis’ ones. No previous
research exists on this topic and I’ve had an article published on the findings
in ‘Horse and Hound’ – the trade magazine. I have taken out a patent on the idea and am
hoping to manufacture an actual product.
Combined with the fact that our EQS and EQT courses have, to
date, seen one hundred percent of its students find employment in the industry,
equine science is a really rewarding area to be involved in. I am open and
happy to talk about the fact that I have Asperger’s syndrome, especially to reassure
others with learning disabilities that it doesn’t mean it’ll hold you back -
I’ve not let it prevent me having a successful career.