A COLLEGE has even more horses for courses after taking-in new animals to boost the equine experience for students.

Coleg Cambria Northop is now the only further education equine facility in North Wales.

The Flintshire site is home to 26 top quality horses after welcoming three from Coleg Meirion Dwyfor’s Glynllifon campus, near Caernarfon.

With recruitment up on last year they are hoping to attract even more students over the summer and continue to bring the biggest names in eventing and equestrianism to the region.

Emily King – daughter of Olympian Mary King – and former Coleg Cambria work-based learning student and eventer Sam Ecroyd are among the stars to have visited Northop and given workshops and demonstrations.

Equine centre manager Karen Evans says the offering and facilities they have will give learners the best start to their chosen career, but there is an even bigger reason to join them.

“Our unique selling point is the bespoke training we give, and that personal touch,” said Karen, a British Horse Society (BHS) Stage Five Stable Manager.

“This is an incredible location and very popular with students, but it’s the hands-on time with the horses that sets us apart, so having more of them is going to mean further experience and time with the animals for our learners.”

Vivienne Martin, Assistant Principal for Land-Based Studies and Additional Learning Needs at Coleg Cambria, added: “Sadly Glynllifon no longer has an equine centre which means we are the only further education site in North Wales running these courses from entry level through to extended diplomas and City and Guilds qualifications.

“We have acquired three of their horses, which is good for their welfare as they’re moving from one college to another.

“It won’t be a major upheaval for them, they’ll be used to the routine and we will continue to give them excellent care.”

As the centre goes from strength to strength, so does the growing equine sector in the UK.

“There is a lot of demand for skilled and qualified workers, it’s a huge part of the economy just behind agriculture and there’s far more to it than just mucking out stables,” said Karen, from Northern Ireland, who has 30 years in the sector.

“There are so many jobs in this arena, from breeding, carriage driving, farriery, mounted police and the racing and polo industries, to equine chiropractor, dentist or physiotherapist, yard manager and more – it’s huge.

“The majority of our horses have come from different disciplines and backgrounds, but most have been in competitions, so they are amazing animals from which to learn the trade.

“We may not be the biggest but that works in our favour because we have amazing facilities – including indoor and floodlit outdoor arenas, a round pen and cross-country track – and pay for all of the students’ BHS training and exams. We are one of the few further education centres still to do that.

“It’s certainly the right time to join us, and we are excited for the future here in Northop.”

For more information, visit: www.cambria.ac.uk/business/courses/course-subject/equine

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