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University Centre Bishop Burton student selected as finalist in BETA Thesis of the Year award

20 Oct 2022 |

University Centre Bishop Burton (UCBB) equine graduate Olivia Hammond has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Equine Thesis of the Year award.

The Equine Thesis of the Year competition was developed by BETA in the late 1990s as a means of recognizing the achievements of equestrian undergraduates. Universities and Colleges across the UK offering equine related degree level programmes are invited to submit one entry. Olivia’s thesis entitled ‘The effect of the German string training aid on equine stride length, tracking distance and head and neck position’, was selected by the expert team within the UCBB Equine faculty to represent University Centre.

Olivia from Chester, who recently graduated in BSc Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation was shocked but very excited when Higher Education Academic Lead for Equine Rebecca Brassington suggested her thesis be submitted on behalf of the University Centre.

Olivia commented “It was such an honour for my work to be considered for this award and to have been selected as a finalist is fantastic.”

Olivia’s thesis concentrates on a subject she is passionate about and is an area that has very little existing academic research. Having always loved riding and competing and now working as a riding teacher and coach, Olivia has always utilised training aids but hadn’t appreciated that many are available on the market without the application of research into their impact and effectiveness. In fact many were advocating benefits that were contradictory to the outcomes of research in existence.

“During the bio-mechanics elements of my degree programme I realised that there was insufficient understanding and knowledge regarding training aids and how they influence a horse’s core activity and any positives attached to this impact. I wanted to address this knowledge gap with my thesis to develop insight that is applicable to the entire equine industry.”

Olivia is so passionate about improving wider awareness and understanding within this field that she is currently in the process of developing her own brand and range of training aids, based on her research and expertise.

Rebecca Brassington the academic lead for Equine said of Olivia’s work “When considering a student for this prestigious award Olivia immediately sprang to mind not only for the excellent standard of her work but also her passion and commitment to her vocation. Her research has provided her with the foundations of what I believe will be a hugely successful career within the equine industry. Olivia’s work will benefit the sector as a whole and I can’t wait to see the fruits of her endeavors in the development of training aids for other riders.”

Olivia’s thesis will be judged alongside submissions from Harper Adams University, Hartpury University and the University of Limerick. Each finalist will present their work to a judging panel made up of Liz Benwell, editor of leading trade title Equestrian Trade News, highly experienced vet, author and veterinarian columnist for Horse & Hound, Karen Coumbe, Equine nutritionist and BETA Feed Committee member Katie Williams and Dr Georgina Crossman owner of GK Crossman Consultancy.

BETA Executive Director Claire Williams said “There is some incredibly impressive research taking place and some exciting and diverse ideas, which will certainly give our industry – and equestrians – plenty of food for thought. We are really looking forward to finding out more about the theses and discovering who is crowned winner. We wish the students and their universities the very best of luck and congratulate them on making it this far.”

The judging will take place on Sunday 30 October during an online event starting at 2pm, which is open to all.

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