In 2012, Equine Science undergraduate Sarah Kearney (nee Rainford), was awarded the prestigious Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year. The following year, Sarah was invited to speak at the HETI (Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International) Conference and at the National Equine Forum (NEF) where she was honoured to meet HRH Princess Anne.
The Royal Agricultural Society of England devised this award in recognition of exceptional equine academic achievements among college and university students.
Sarah faced much competition, with finalists being chosen from Writtle University College, the Royal Agricultural College, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Limerick.
The remit of Sarah’s thesis was to consider whether horse riding could successfully increase joint mobility in physically disabled children. She developed an interest in this subject after doing work experience with the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group at Foxes Riding School on the Wirral.
Sarah went on to study for an MSc in Equine Science at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, Sarah secured a post as a nutritionist with feed company Dodson & Horrell. Her duties include advising owners on their horse’s dietary requirements, writing magazine articles and helping to develop new feed ranges.
I was extremely proud and honoured to be have been chosen as the winner of the thesis of the year award, especially with the high standard of other entries. I hope that the work I have done will go towards validating the work of the RDA.