A Northumberland College alumni’s research has been recognised at one of the country’s most prestigious Higher Education equine conferences.
Bekki Schofield, who studied an FdSc in Equine Performance and Coaching before graduating with a BSc first class honours, was chosen to present an abstract of her dissertation at the Alltech-Hartpury Conference.
Aimed at Higher Education students from across the UK, the conference offers the opportunity for undergraduates to present their findings in equestrian science and industry to their peers from colleges and universities from around the world.
As the conference closed Bekki’s research, entitled Saddle Up: An Investigation into the Occurrence of Saddle Slip in Mounted Games Ponies, was awarded the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation by a panel of experts.
After receiving her award, she said: “Presenting was really nerve wracking at first, but once I got into the swing of it, it got easier.
“I felt better knowing I had the support of my tutors at college behind me who were all watching. The calibre of presentations was fantastic, so it was a real surprise to win.”
Being around horses since the age of five, the 31-year-old from Cramlington worked in ‘pretty boring’ office jobs but decided to follow her passion for horses, taking a part time job at a racing yard. Looking to expand her equine knowledge, Bekki chose to study her degree at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall Campus due to its location and after being impressed by the high standard of teaching.
She added: “The best thing about my course is the quality of learning from the tutors. They’re all friendly, approachable and extremely knowledgeable and have experience in industry which makes all the difference.
“I always thought I knew a lot about horses until my first day in the classroom, but studying at the college has given me more knowledge than I could ever imagine and the desire to carry on learning and be at the forefront of leading research.
“I would definitely recommend Northumberland College. If you want a hands-on approach with knowledgeable tutors, it’s the place for you.”
Now running her own equine grooming business, RS Equine, Bekki has secured sponsorships with some of the industry’s leading brands and is an ambassador for Lister Pro who are world-leaders in the animal clipping and shearing industry.
Earlier this year she was shortlisted for Groom of the Year at the 2021 Equestrian Business Awards with the winners announced in October.
Naomi Ainley, Equine Studies Lecturer, said: “Bekki has had the most amazing year and thoroughly deserves this latest success.
“She has worked so hard throughout her studies and produced a strong dissertation so it is fantastic that she was chosen to present her research at the Alltech-Hartpury Conference, but to be awarded the best undergraduate oral presentation award is the icing on the cake.
“We hope that her success will inspire more students to follow in her footsteps and consider applying to present their research too.”
David McGregor, Head of Collaborative Provision at the University of Cumbria, said: “As the awarding body for the College’s BSc (Hons) Equestrian Performance and Coaching programme, the University was delighted to hear of Rebecca’s fantastic achievement at the recent Alltech-Hartpury Conference.
“Successes at these national events help showcase the standard of higher education offered by the College and we wish Rebecca well in her future plans.”
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the AllTech-Hartpury Conference gives Higher Education students the chance to experience writing and submitting an abstract, going through the review and revisions process, through to delivering a theatre or virtual presentation to an audience of producing a specific poster.
Submissions are welcomed in equine areas including behaviour and welfare, business management, nutrition and feeding, rider performance, and health and therapy from students on any Higher Education programme.
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