Inspiring Equine Showcase launches £2million investment

March 16, 2018

Official opening, photo credit Boots and Hooves

Writtle University College unveiled its fantastic new equine facilities and resources at an Equine Showcase packed full of inspiring interactive workshops.

The event – on Wednesday 14 March – gave around 300 visitors a taster of the range of exciting equine work at Writtle, and the dynamic equine community on campus.

Following a £2 million investment, all of Writtle’s equine facilities have been brought onto one site at its Cow Watering Campus, which is now a central hub for equine teaching and research, boasting the latest in scientific technologies.

The investment enhances the student experience by enabling all practical sessions to be carried out in one extended space, whether it is using breeding horses or youngstock, the therapy units or the riding facilities.

Water treadmill, photo credit Boots and Hooves

Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor of Writtle University College, said: “Our Equine Showcase was a great way to officially open our new horse breeding facilities and our specialist equine therapy and performance suites at our Cow Watering Campus. Our equine industry partners, students and staff presented a rich and varied programme of workshops and demonstrations for the hundreds of visitors to the event.

“Our professional resources, allied to an expert staff team and rich and varied industry networks, provide excellent opportunities for our equine students in both Further and Higher Education to develop the skills and knowledge that the industry needs.”

Skeleton jump, photo credit Boots and Hooves

A Stud facility, extended outdoor menage, a second therapy barn, oval horsewalker, DIY stables and an indoor school have been added to the facilities already on the campus, which include an equine water treadmill, solarium and indoor riding arenas.

Caroline Flanagan, who heads up the Higher Education Equine and Veterinary Physiotherapy courses, said: “At Writtle, we strive to achieve a graduate who can put science into practice. Our facilities are vital to support this very applied approach to education and this £2million investment brings all of our equine activities together onto one campus as an equine centre of excellence.

“This event enabled our students to be involved in something special; I hope they learnt a lot from the experience of being involved and further developed their skills in terms of communicating their specialist knowledge to the general public.  I was proud of every single one of them!”

Equine Showcase, photo credit Boots and Hooves

The event marked the official opening of the new Stud area, with the ribbon cut by local vet Chris House, of House and Jackson Veterinary Hospital.

Writtle has a fantastic track record in equine breeding. The Stud won a British Eventing Breeders’ Medal this year for the leading British-bred horse in the Eventing Five Year Old Championships.  The Stud also produced the Reserve Champion showjumper at the British Equestrian Federation’s Futurity Championships 2017. The champion Riding Horse at the Horse of the Year Show in 2016 and 2017 was also born at Writtle.

The workshops at the Showcase were enjoyable for visitors with an interest in improving their own human-equine partnership, and were inspirational for those thinking of studying an equine course at Writtle.

Farrier Martin Grady, photo credit Boots and Hooves

They included behaviour displays to demonstrate how horses learn; painted horses to illustrate superficial and deep muscle layers; working horses on the water treadmill; breeding advice; biomechanical analysis of gait; rider ‘MOTs’; massage, stretching and sports taping; feeding hints; the principles of training; and even a lower limb dissection.

There were demonstrations and an exhibitors area featuring several organisations and individuals in the equine industry including House & Jackson veterinary surgeons, Quintic Biomechanics, Egger BESTbox, Emily Jones Saddlery and the farrier Martin Grady.