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Equine Business Dissertation Ideas

What courses? Endless. Stable management; equine performance; equine anatomy, physiology and nutritional biochemistry; equine husbandry; equine exercise physiology, fitness and training; equine health management; equine business management; equine veterinary nursing; equestrian sports coaching; equestrian performance and rehabilitation; equine nutrition; equestrian sports science; equine behaviour and welfare; equine science; equine therapeutics; horse care; horse management.

What do you come out with?Mostly BSc (Hons), but also BA (Hons), foundation degrees (FdA, FdSc), and HNDs.

Why do it? “Many people, for love of horses, want to work with them. Initially, thoughts will be of looking after horses and perhaps riding to victory. Later, investigation will show that the horse industry offers a splendid range of careers. Some of these opportunities may be in the equine allied industries where the pay may be better and the hours more sociable; they may also allow more opportunity to have your own horse and pony and have time to enjoy it.” - Jeremy Houghton-Brown, principal lecturer in equine studies at Warwickshire College and author of Horse and Stable Management- the Bible for all things horse.

What's it about? Equine studies combines the scientific study of horses along with practical aspects such as business models, breeding, training, and taking care of the animals. The course brings together the key elements of other horse-related higher education courses, such as equestrian management and development, and equine science. Students will learn an overview of the equine industry, along with horse anatomy, animal science, breeding and stud management. You will learn how to examine horse behaviour, develop your riding ability, along with gaining an understanding of the equine sports and coaching industry combined with the managerial skills to succeed in the equine business. The second year generally develops your knowledge of applied equine science and equine business management, while in the final year students will generally write dissertations, honing in on an aspect of equine studies of their interest. A student at Sparsholt College studying the BSc programme, for example, presented his dissertation focusing on the possible benefits of Pilates exercise to the horse rider. Equine studies provides a substantial practical element, with modules including equine exercise physiology, equine sports medicine, applied sports coaching, equine exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology and management of performance horses. Crucially, by graduating in equine studies, you’re entering an industry which, with approximately two million riders in the UK, constantly needs well trained and devoted individuals to give expert care and tuition of horses.

Study options: In general you’re looking at three years for a BSc or BA, or two years for a foundation degree. Some universities and colleges offer a four year degree, which includes an optional placement year. Students can “top-up” to a degree after completing their foundation degrees in equine studies in some cases, too. Work placements are either included or actively encouraged.

A healthy mix of theoretical and practical work goes on, with a focus combining horsemanship and business management, and a physical element, where you will learn about exercise horse physiology and sport. Most courses have indoor or outdoor arenas and stables for the practical work, along with classrooms and laboratory areas for the theoretical.

What will I need to do it? Pretty darn flexible- though English and maths GCSE, along with a science A-level, are preferred. Warwickshire College asks for CCC at A-level, and Sparshot College asks for at least CC at A-level or equivalent. Many courses, such as BSc equine studies at the Royal Agricultural University, are top-up courses, requiring foundation degrees or HNDs.

What are my job prospects? The equine industry is currently exploding in popularity, with a turnover approaching £1bn a year. Graduates can find themselves entering into four main sectors: the sports sector, such as show-jumping, dressage, polo, hunting or other horse sports; the leisure sector, including riding schools, livery stables or private riding; the racing sector, offering jobs in trainers yards, administrative jobs or breeding horses; and the service sector, including equestrian marketing, equestrian healthcare, and equestrian events. Typical employers for graduates keen to enter the industry include breeding companies, training yards, promotion companies and rural leisure industries. With two million horse riders in the UK, the market is there, for sure.

Where's best to do it? WhatUni? ranked Aberystwyth University as number one in the UK for foundation degree equine studies. Neither the Complete University Guide, nor the Times Good University Guide included equine studies in their rankings.

Related degrees:Biological sciences, medicine, sport science, veterinary studies.

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Research Projects

Success for British Eventing Team Member in Young Riders in 2015.

Ella Hitchman achieved terrific success in the European Young Riders Team winning 4th individually and a gold medal for the team. Congratulations to Ella and Rocky who both receive Bowen and Equine Bowen Therapy with Beth Darrall.

Research Project

A client (a rider) rang after his regular maintenance Bowen treatment with the following news; he had taken his own blood pressure and pulse before and after his treatment. Before Bowen, BP was 131/78, pulse - 66/min and after Bowen, his BP was 89/72, pulse - 56/min. A considerable change occurred. This information gave me an idea - wouldn't it be great to be able to research and gather evidence of a similar nature on horses, maybe with endurance or competition horses, where a veterinary surgeon was present to monitor the changes as they occur.

If any graduates feel they would like to explore this further as part of their CPD work, please contact Beth.

Beth hopes to work with the co-operation of her local Endurance group in the spring to further this research project


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More New Research in Progress!

A Hartpury Equine Degree student has chose to research into the effects of Equine Bowen Therapy on the length of stride. Following a successful course of Bowen treatment on her own horse when she noticed an increased range of movement and fluidity in his gaits, she decided to investigate Equine Bowen Therapy further as part of her final year dissertation.

Click here for pdf file of the project in full...

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4 Thermographs showing temperature changes to the equine body before and after Equine Bowen Therapy.

Taken on 25th August 2004 at the Avonvale Veterinary Group, Banbury, Oxon by kind permission of Mr. Chris Colles, BVetMed, PhD, MRCVS

Rusty before treatment ...

Rusty after treatment ...

Thermographs represent physiological function and its response to disease, trauma or environment. They are taken in a temperature controlled room - at a constant 23 degrees C, free from draft, direct sunlight and moisture.

Each colour change represents approximately half a degree C. The colour scale below the scan shows the hottest temperatures on the right. In the normal horse, the surface temperature should be within one and a half degrees over the whole of the trunk, the distal limbs are normally several degrees cooler. A warm stripe is normally seen in the mid line of the back, the muscle either side being about one degree cooler.

Coat length or density or inflammation of the skin due to local infection or trauma of course occur, giving areas of increased heat, totally unrelated to musculoskeletal disorders.

For the purpose of these particular examples, the preferred temperature for the horse is shown as a light orange to yellow colour. The reds, greens and blues indicate a cooler temperature and therefore indicates reduced blood circulation in these areas.

On Rusty, you can see the green area over the sacrum and in particular the off side gluteal and biceps femoris muscles, in the "before" or "pre" Bowen thermograph pictures. In the "after" or "post" treatment pictures, you can see the green area has gone, demonstrating a rise in temperature and therefore increased blood circulation in these tissues.

On other areas of the horses' body, you can see the lighter colours in the post treatment photographs.