Writtle University College
Equine Academy

The Writtle University College (WUC) Equine team has a proven reputation for delivering exceptional equine degree programmes and enhancing students’ employability with a practical hands-on learning approach. The industry links and reputation built around our Equine and Veterinary Physiotherapy courses have enabled the team to create the WUC Equine Academy.

The WUC Equine Academy is a new initiative aimed at supporting between six and 12 talented riders for one academic year (with the potential for this to be extended) whilst the rider is studying for any Higher Education award at Writtle University College.

The package provides support in two forms:
  • training for established competition rider/horse combinations or
  • a place on our Performance Horse Production Pathway (PHPP) for a further four to six competition level riders

We recognise that for some talented riders, bringing a horse to university may not be possible (for example, for an international applicant). In this instance we will consider involving students in a range of riding opportunities which, depending on the yearly circumstances, could include ‘re-training’, ‘re-habbing’ or potentially producing, a WUC-owned horse. Therefore, experience and flexibility are required of any students wishing to be involved in the diversity offered on the PHPP line.

All applicants to the Equine Academy must be dedicated (and ideally competitive) equestrians. They will understand their goals and see them realised with the support and guidance of experienced and professional in-house and guest coaches, whether the applicants’ discipline is Dressage, Showjumping, or Eventing, or another recognised horse sport.

Meet the Academy Riders

2022 - 2023 Academy Riders

Victoria Gedny

Hi! My name is Victoria and I’m a 3rd year Equine Performance Science student here at WUC. This is my 3rd year on the equine academy and this year I have brought my 5 year old mare Cindy along with me. Follow my journey..!

Emma Stringer

Lets start with a bit about me, I'm 21 years old and have ridden for my whole life. I started on a cheeky Welsh Section A, who taught me a lot about sitting to over-jumps and bucks!

Megan Finch

Hello, I am Megan Finch, and I am in my second year of the Integrated Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy. As well as being in my second year in the equine academy, on the Production horse Pathway.

Gemma Pilcher

Hello, my name is Gemma and I am a first year Equine Rehab & Therapy student. I have come with my horse Willow (shared with my sister) and we are loving the academy life!

Sophie Pilcher

Hi! my name is Sophie and this is my Journey on the WUC Equine Academy with my horse Willow. I am 18 years old, and I started my first year of Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation this year in September and I am enjoying every minute of it!

2021 - 2022 Academy Riders

Megan Finch

Hi, I am Megan and I am on my first year of the Integrated Master's in Veterinary Physiotherapy. I am very grateful and excited to be on the production line of the Equine Academy here at Writtle University College.

Pippa Fourie

Hi, my name is Pippa Fourie, I am from South Africa, but I have been living in Bahrain for the past 8 years. I have recently moved to the UK to start my journey at Writtle University College and the Equine Academy too!

Hannah Wolverson

Follow the journey of me and my horse Callista Clover on the Writtle University College Equine Academy.

Emma Stringer

Lets start with a bit about me, I'm 21 years old and have ridden for my whole life. I started on a cheeky Welsh Section A, who taught me a lot about sitting to over-jumps and bucks!

Špella Deželak

I'm a first year BSc Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation student and Slovenian show-jumper, who got an amazing opportunity to join the Equine Academy, as a part of the Performance Horse Production Pathway.

Writtle University College equine student Amie Ardagh riding horse

Amie Ardagh

Hi! My name is Amie, I am a 21-year-old Veterinary Physiotherapy student at WUC, currently in my third year of study. It is my first year on the equine academy with my horse Pellé and we are loving every minute of it so far.

2019 - 2020 Academy Riders

Caoilin Nannery

Join my trusty steed Dolly & I whilst we embark on a new journey at Writtle University College through the Equine Academy!

Fleur van der Meij

Follow the journey of me and my horse Vodka 4, a 17.2 hand Slovenian Warmblood, who I am currently competing up to one metre classes.

Rebeka Antonija Setnikar

Welcome to the world of me and Milka at Writtle Equine Academy.

Catherine Clemow

Follow my journey on the Performance Horse Production Pathway at Writtle University College!

Gaby Botfield

Follow me and my horse Oscar, a 16.1 hh 5 year old trekehner. I currently compete at novice level with this very talented horse and hope to go up the levels.

2018 - 2019 Academy Riders

Miranda Cosstick

Follow the journey of me and my horse Felix (Hearsay II) conquering the showjumping world!

Amy Livesey

Follow a student at Writtle University College dedicated to her studies and her passion for showjumping.

Sophie Parkinson

Follow me on my journey into the dressage world!

Rude Morris

Follow me on my journey through the Performance Horse Production Pathway (PHPP) and into the world of dressage!

Lene Lura

Follow my journey on the Performance Horse Production Pathway (PHPP).

What the WUC Equine Academy will provide for the rider:

  • Group and individual ridden training sessions with resident coaches, including periodic re-assessment
  • Group training sessions with professional external trainers
  • Fitness training including; sport psychology sessions, Pilates classes, cardiovascular training, coaching sessions, gym strengthening sessions and nutrition advice
  • Individualised yearly planner for competitive progress and goal setting, with some classroom based theory learning
  • High-intensity technical and tactical planning sessions

What the WUC Equine Academy will provide for the horse:

  • A dedicated space in the Academy Block of DIY stables with an associated “ensuite” sand-pen
  • Therapeutic assessment by qualified veterinary physiotherapists or chiropractic staff, including regular massages by supervised veterinary physiotherapy or sports therapy WUC students
  • Biomechanical gait assessment to include the use of pressure-monitoring systems for saddle/rider asymmetry and rein balance
  • Nutrition advice from qualified nutritionists

Acceptance into the Equine Academy will be competitive. Retention of your Academy place will require the successful applicant to pass and excel at their academic assessments throughout the year, alongside their riding commitments. Candidates will have an exemplary attendance record and convey a commitment to the provided academic sessions. In return, members will have access to our equine facilities and our experienced support staff.

It is expected that Equine Academy members will become ambassadors for the Academy and maintain high standards throughout their time as a member, by helping with demonstrations at University Open Days, becoming involved in marketing initiatives and for taught sessions.

Members must support fellow students on the yard, offering to become mentors to encourage and develop other students. Members must be able to work as part of a team to maintain professional standards at all times, whether in the stable barn or as a rider representing WUC while competing at events.

Members will be required to chart their development and success via Social Media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and there will be an expectation to showcase the progress of the Academy horses and riders through writing a blog.

Entry Requirements for the WUC
Equine Academy

The applicant must:
  • be a student enrolled on, or an applicant for, any WUC Higher Education award (does not have to be equine-related)
  • be training, and ideally competing in an affiliated discipline or equivalent, at or above the following levels:
    • BS – British Novice/Discovery
    • BD - Novice/Elementary
    • BE - BE90/BE100
    • Other disciplines will be considered on an individual basis
  • have membership of an affiliated discipline or Riding Club/Pony Club membership
  • have evidence of some competitive experience
  • have their own horse
  • be prepared to have and pay for their own horse on the WUC DIY livery, in the Academy Block

Entry requirements for the PHPP will be as above without the stipulation to own your own horse

As the PHPP is potentially a business model, any PHPP horses could be produced, sold, or integrated into the WUC equine facility. PHPP horses will have their basic maintenance costs covered by WUC and riders working with PHPP horses will need to enter into a contract with WUC to ensure clarity of responsibilities.

Ideally all applicants (Equine Academy and PHPP) would also:
  • be living in WUC Halls of Residence or living in close quarters to Cow Watering Campus

Supported by:

Birkett Long Solicitors Logo.jpg

The application process:

  • Now accepting applications for 2023 entry
  • Applicants must submit a 1,500 word written application justification, accompanied by a 10 to 15 minute video evidencing the rider and horse combination’s flat work and some jumping, if applicable, to support the written application
  • Applicants must provide a reference from a qualified instructor, riding club committee member, Pony Club District Commissioner or professional rider within the intended discipline. If utilising a professional rider as a reference, the applicant must have spent time training or employed as a member of the rider’s yard team
  • Shortlisted applicants could potentially be invited to a viewing day for initial assessment in August
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be ranked and placed on a waiting list and offered places as appropriate if or when spaces become available
  • Successful applicants will be informed by e-mail as to when they can bring their horses on site, this is usually over the weekend prior to Induction
  • Students are able to apply for Academy membership prior to each academic year

Applications must be received by end of July 2023

Contact Us

For more information about the Equine Academy and to apply please contact Jane Hart