Education: Springboard to a Career in the Equine Industry

Article excerpt

ENNISKILLEN College provides a wide range of courses for those interested in pursuing careers in the Equine Industry. Courses are applied in content and have a strong practical element with emphasis being placed on students 'learning by doing'.

Enniskillen College currently offers a wide range of equine courses from First Diploma Level (no formal educational requirements for entry) through to Degree level. In addition to completing their formal academic studies, students on these programmes have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities, which compliment formal course work, throughout the academic year.

These activities include Showjumping Competitions, Cross Country Schooling and Racing. Students can also avail of the Study Tour and Visit programme which enable students to broaden their experience of the Equine Industry at home and abroad.

The Flo Milling travel scholarship sponsored by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association is awarded annually to a College student enabling them to travel internationally and additional scholarships are available to facilitate two students to spend a semester at Michigan State University.

Students also have the opportunity to get involved with Industry Organisations associated with planning and running of events including Dressage Festivals, Three Day Events, Stallion Parades and Connemara Pony Breeders Displays.

BSc (Hons) in Equine Studies

The overall aim of this four year course is to provide students with a sound academic base for the development of equine science, equine technology and business skills.

The course, which is validated by the University of Ulster, aims to produce motivated graduates possessing knowledge of the techniques for managing business enterprises relevant to the needs of the equine industry.

Students are required to spend 48 weeks on work placement, the successful completion of which results in the award of a Diploma in Industrial Studies. BSc students have to date spent a proportion of their work placement in Kentucky, Dubai, Ireland, England, Australia and Germany. Career opportunities from this programme include college lecturing posts, technical sales representatives and advisors and equine business managers.

Higher National Diploma in Equine Studies

This three year course is designed to meet the needs of the Irish Equine Industry. The course aims to develop students understanding of the technology and management of horse related enterprises.

Students who have achieved a HND in Equine Studies will have acquired a wide range of practical equine skills, developed an understanding of the principles of good horse husbandry practices and obtained a knowledge of financial management, marketing and business planning.

In addition to studying core modules students have the opportunity to specialise in aspects of Equitation, Breeding and Racing. Work Placement is an integral part of this course and students have undertaken a wide range of positions in studs, showjumping, eventing, racing, dressage and showing competition yards and many further their qualifications through gaining their British Horse Society Qualifications up to Intermediate Instructor level.

Final year students are involved with the running of the College's Breeding Unit as part of an applied enterprise management MARE's project.

A high proportion of final year students have undertaken bridging studies with a view to completing the one year programme which is offered at the College to enable HND students to 'top up' their qualification to a Bsc (Hons) degree.

Higher National Certificate in Equine Studies

This part time course is designed to provide more flexible access to students and enables students to gain an academic qualification relevant to the Equine Industry.

Students study 10 modules from the suite of modules offered at HND level. Students generally attend college on a day release basis and their rate of progress through the course is governed by the time which they have available to allocate to their studies.

National Diploma in Horse Management

This two year course provides excellent preparation for those wishing to pursue a career in the equine industry or to progress to higher education in equine or business related fields. The course is delivered by highly skilled staff using state of the art practical facilities at Enniskillen College and Necarne Castle. Students study a number of core modules and have the option of specialising in Equitation, Racing, Breeding or Business.

A two year National Diploma (ND) Course in Horse Management, offered in conjunction with Fermanagh college is also an option for students leaving school with four GCSE passes. Students successfully completing this programme can avail of progression opportunities to Higher Education Courses at a range of Colleges and Universities.

First Diploma in Horse Care - NEW for 2002

Enniskillen college has obtained approval from EdExcel to run a First Diploma Course in Horse

Care commencing in September 2001. This course has a very practical focus and aims to develop the practical skills of those interested in working with horses. The skills students develop are in all aspects of horse care including exercising, grooming, feeding, basic health care and handling a range of types of horses including competition horses, broodmares and young stock.

No formal entry qualifications are required for this full time one year programme however, applicants should have an interest in working with horses and should have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

All of these courses combine opportunities to study a range of equine and business modules and good progression opportunities exist which enable students to gain higher level qualifications. Equine courses offered at Enniskillen College incorporate a strong practical dimension and the philosophy of 'learning by doing' applies throughout these programmes. Excellent equestrian, classroom and residential facilities exist at the College and at Necarne Castle and these are utilised to enable students to develop both their practical and theoretical skills in a pleasant environment.

Student Activities

Equine students have the opportunity to participate in the College's Showjumping, Racing and Equestrian Business clubs. Students are involved with the organisation and running of a number of Equestrian Events at Necarne Castle in conjunction with many Equestrian Organisations. Students also have the opportunity to obtain their Amateur jockey license, NVQ qualifications, First Aid exams and Health and Safety certificates. The College staff provide training for individuals wishing to gain their British Horse Society Stage.

Examinations and Riding and Road Safety test. Students also have the opportunity to go on visits and study tours as part of their courses.

A year spent in Industrial placement is an important feature of both HND and BSc. programmes at the college. Students have worked in a wide range of posts within the Equine Industries of countries such as Australia, New Zealand, United States, Germany, Belgium and Ireland.

Students who have completed equine courses at Enniskillen College have acquired employment in a wide range of jobs. Former College students' jobs include stud work (both within Ireland and as far afield as Australia), technical sales for feed and veterinary pharmaceutical companies, technical advisers for breeding companies, members of administration teams for Equine marketing Companies, College lecturers and equine retail managers.

MSU Exchange Programme

Two students from the BSc programme in Equine Studies, Emma McGowan and Gina were awarded scholarships that enabled them to spend the Spring semester at Michigan State University in the United States. Emma and Gina departed for the States in early January and returned in May, having thoroughly enjoyed their visit from both the academic and social aspects of their trip. Two MSU students Katie Schwartz and Beckey Fahey, spent the Autmun semester at Enniskillen College and one MSU student Gill Rinkel spent the Spring semester at the College. They enjoyed their visit especially the Cross Country outings to Glaslough, the student balls and the student 2-day event, they made many friends and keep in contact with both staff and students.

MARES project

The HND third year equine students undertaking the Applied Enterprise Management are involved in all aspects of the equine breeding unit. The students are guided by the MARES Advisory Board, the members of which are prominent industry representatives who have a wide expanse of knowledge and practical experience. The students prepare College - bred foals for the National Hunt and Flat bred sales and are involved in the selection of stallions for the College's mares. Students present stock for inspection by the members of MARES Advisory Board panel and then lead to discussions about the stock, the management of the stock and gain guidance on the way ahead for the breeding programme.

Equine Life Long Learning

A new equine distance learning programme has been piloted at Greenmount College in conjunction with the International Equine Institute, University of Limerick. Distance Learning provides those people who are not in a position to attend College on a full time basis with the opportunity to study for a higher level qualification at their own pace. Modules offered include Horsemanship, Horsemanship Riding, Introduction to Information Technology, Grassland and Grazing Management and the Irish Horse Industry. Details about the Equine Distance Learning programme can be obtained from Mrs Deirdre Cooper, Greenmount College, Antrim.

Location and facilities

Enniskillen College is situated within a 163 hectare rural estate located on the outskirts of Enniskillen in the beautiful Fermanagh Lakeland. Extensive use is made of the College's farm for the delivery of the Agriculture courses. The College's Racing Yard and Breeding Unit are located at the Enniskillen campus. Much of the College's equine provision is based at Necarne Castle, in Irvinestown, approximately eight miles from the College. The Necarne Estate extends to 160 hectares and facilities include stabling, indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and an International 3 day event course.

Equine Studies

BSc (Hons) Equine Studies with DIS (validated by University of Ulster)

Higher National Diploma (HND) in Equine Studies (3 courses available)

National Diploma (ND) in Horse Management

First Diploma in Horse Care (subject to approval)

Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Equine Studies

National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 in Racehorse Care (currently only offered to students on full time programmes at the College)

For further information on Bsc, HND, HNC First Diploma and NVQ programmes contact:

The Admissions Unit, Enniskillen College, Levaghy, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT74 4GF


Telephone: 02866 344853

Fax: 02866 344888


For further information on ND programmes contact:

Admissions Unit, Fermanagh College, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT74 6AE

Telephone: 02866 322431

Fax: 02866 326357