Laura Graham: Equine Studies
Laura Graham has faced various challenges to reach her fourth year of study at SRUC’s Oatridge campus – a fact that has been recognised by her selection as a finalist in Lantra’s Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (ALBAS).
In her first year, she had to take a month off after falling ill, and in her second year, she nearly lost her dad in a life-threatening accident.
With the support of her tutors at SRUC, including Louise Bulmer who nominated her for the award, Laura has managed to reach HND level and has set up her own business working as a stable hand.
“Having been around horses for most of my life, I wanted to get as much experience and as much learning as I possibly could,” she said. “That’s what’s really good about studying at Oatridge. There is so much variety, especially for riders of different levels. In each course there are also so many opportunities to expand your knowledge and get out there competing and learning about different industries.”
Laura’s equine career started as a five-year-old when she first tried horse riding at a birthday party.
“I was hooked,” she said. “I started with a couple of lessons a week and did voluntary work on the yard, getting horses ready before a lesson.
“I then started volunteering at different yards and building up my learning and riding experience. After a few years of voluntary work, I ended up getting my own horse on loan. I got to go out competing and really expand my knowledge.”
As well her studies, Laura has also completed various professional exams offered by the British Horse Society.
“These qualifications show you’re capable of managing a stable environment and that you know basic care of horses including first aid and how to exercise them,” said Laura. “The coaching qualification gives you the first stage of teaching under the supervision of a qualified instructor.”
Laura said reaching the finals of the ALBAS has given her a huge confidence boost.
“It has given me a lot of confidence and made me feel good about the work I am doing and that I’m capable of making an impact.”
Looking to the future, Laura hopes to use the experience she has gained to run her own yard.
“Working as a stable hand has given me an insight into what it would be like to have my own business and run a yard the way I would like it to be run,” she said.