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Writtle University College launches UK’s only Level 4 Thoroughbred Stud Operation course

Writtle University College have launched a new Level 4 Thoroughbred Stud Operation course as part of their growing Equine studies program.

Writtle University College is one of the UK’s leading providers of land-based, animal, environmental, design and sports education. Established in 1893, and achieving University College status in 2016, Writtle offers a range of specialist courses to offer students a holistic, practical education.

The course is the only Level 4 course of its kind in the UK, which is aimed at developing students’ understanding of raising and working with thoroughbreds specifically for a racing career.

Alongside these skills, students will learn different business aspects of the stud industry, offering a holistic approach that will benefit them in their career.

The year-long program is divided into two compulsory semesters, each focussing on the theoretical and practical aspects of stud breeding. These include Management and Handling for the Stud Industry, Neonatal Challenges, and Professional Skills for the Stud Industry, among others.

As part of their education, students will also spend a significant period of time on work experience with one of the industry’s leading stud farms throughout the foaling season – Writtle’s stud partners include Juddmonte, Shadwell, and Highclere Studs.

James O’Donnell, Assistant Stud Director of Shadwell Stud, spoke about the collaboration between the two organisations:

“We are extremely encouraged by the Thoroughbred Stud Operations course that Writtle University College have launched. We feel it is an important and timely initiative and we are excited to be working with them.”

The course will be administered, in part, at Writtle’s purpose-built stud facility, part of the £1.5 million renovation to their existing equine facilities, giving students access to state-of-the-art equipment and learning tools. Students will develop their knowledge across a range of disciplines involved in breeding thoroughbred racehorses, such as the practical skills and scientific understanding of how the animals’ function – all under the supervision of experienced Writtle staff.

Writtle University College hopes to attract individuals with an interest in, or experience of, any aspect of the horse racing industry. For young students looking to take their first step on a career path, a passion for horses is paramount, as is a Level 3 qualification in a related field of study, or other appropriate qualifications. For mature applicants on the Thoroughbred Stud Operations course, a background of working in the industry will be sufficient. There is a minimum requirement of 48 UCAS points to take the course, in accordance with Writtle’s admissions policy.

The University aims to produce graduates with a holistic understanding of their subject as well as the business behind the industry, before sending them into a stud-based career.

On the introduction of the Thoroughbred Stud Operation course, Caroline Flanagan, Head of School for Equine and Veterinary Physiotherapy at Writtle, said:

“The Equine team at Writtle University College are thrilled to provide this unrivalled opportunity for those interested in breeding horses. The thoroughbred industry is a vibrant, exciting environment to be working within and this award will provide exceptional opportunities to develop a career working with some of the UK’s most valuable bloodstock. The course has been designed to allow individuals to develop their practical skill set alongside theoretical knowledge to enable them to become invaluable members of stud teams. We are looking forward to further developing our thoroughbred-focussed portfolio over the next few years.”

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