Groomed for Success
When Emily Stewart started studying for an Advanced Certificate in Horse Care at Scotland’s Rural College, she planned to leave at the end of the year-long course to get a job as a riding instructor.
However three years on, the 18-year-old has graduated with an HND in Equine Studies from SRUC’s Oatridge campus, after being named its 2019 Student of the Year by the Student Association.
Emily decided to continue with her college education – despite facing a three-hour bus commute each day between her home in Harthill and Oatridge – because of the opportunities it offered her.
“After my first year I realised I really enjoyed studying and wanted to stay on and learn a bit more,” she said.
“Before I came to college, I just wanted to be a riding instructor but it made me realise there are a lot more opportunities. Following my work experience I decided I wanted to be a groom and I stayed on to get more experience.”
During her time at SRUC, a placement with show jumping coach Andrew Hamilton in Carluke led onto a summer job, while a second placement with Lisa Ogilvie at Champfleurie Stables in Bathgate, led to a part-time job.
After finishing her course, she also spent a few weeks working as a groom for international showjumper Jemma Kirk at her stables in Normandy, France.
Emily, who took her driving test as soon as possible to make her commute easier, particularly enjoyed studying the Care of the Competition Horse and Managing an Event modules, as well as the opportunity to improve her own riding and jumping skills.
She also appreciated the support offered by the lecturers, especially as she was only 16 when she started.
In addition to her studies, work commitments and looking after her own horse Ross, Emily did the British Horse Society Stage 1 Complete Horsemanship and the Level 1 Equestrian Coaching Assistant qualifications while at SRUC, was nominated for the Higher Education Learner of the year in 2018/19 and reached the interview stages of the LANTRA awards.
“It opens doors for you,” she says of her time at SRUC. “It gave me the confidence to apply for the job in France.”