Caroline completed a degree in equine studies at Writtle College in 2007. She now works as an equine nutritionist for Baileys Horse Feeds.
I worked at a couple of different yards throughout my time studying at Writtle College and I carried on with this after finishing college while keeping an eye out for employment within other areas of the equine industry - namely nutrition. In the September I sent out speculative letters along with my CV to feed companies in my area and I received a response from the director of nutrition at Baileys Horse Feeds. She notified me of a vacancy for an equine nutritionist that had arisen within the company and I confirmed my interest in the role. After two interviews, a presentation and 50 written questions to answer, I secured the job and commenced employment in January 2008.
Without my degree I would not have even been considered for the job I do now. Although I chose nutrition specific modules which have been essential to my role, I found the wider variety of study options highly beneficial as well - these included anatomy and physiology, horse health and exercise physiology.
On a day-to-day basis, I answer feed enquiries from a wide range of people including the general public, professional riders, trainers and vets. I also devise feed programmes (rations) for various disciplines from pleasure riding to youngstock and this involves interpreting both feed and forage analysis results and documenting them accordingly.
A large part of my job is also to carry out yard visits that cover all disciplines, for example one week may be a visit to a riding school or livery yard and the next to a large sports horse stud.
On top of this I deliver lectures and presentations to a wide range of audiences and attend college careers days and merchant open days to provide advice.
I have developed in my role as equine nutritionist simply through experience of the job and as a result have been able to progress in my capabilities. I now do far more yard visits to a wider variety of horse owners and riders, including international competition riders.
Research continues in the many aspects of equine nutrition and we are lucky enough to attend regular conferences that keep us up to date with the many progressions that occur. I hope to continue in my role developing in experience and expertise.
I particularly enjoy the yard visits and dealing with the owners, riders, breeders and horses directly. Having the opportunity to aid in the good health and success of the horses is very rewarding. It is particularly exciting be a part of the success of horses in high-level competition by planning and communicating appropriate and beneficial diets. I also very much enjoy writing, whether that be in the form of magazine articles or in-house material such as the technical information sheets.
Competition is fierce for equine nutritionist roles within a feed company and therefore prospective employers usually look for a 2:1 or a first class degree, so work, work, work - your final grade is so important.
Due to specific equine nutritionist roles being so limited, it is also advisable to gain as much practical experience as possible so try to get a job working in a yard even perhaps while studying. Taking the British Horse Society (BHS) exams are also a very good way of indicating your level of practical ability.
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