12th May 2016
A group of 1st year BSc Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management students from Abingdon & Witney College travelled to the British Horse Society (BHS) headquarters in Warwickshire to present their research regarding how riding schools in the UK might need to transform in the next ten years to keep up with a changing world.
The students' Equine Science research was titled ‘Could a herd of mechanical horses help secure the future of riding schools?’ and looked at how viable it could be to encourage people to take up riding by using a mechanical horse for their first lessons.
Following several surveys, involving riders and non-riders, the students concluded that mechanical horses are definitely an option for riding schools to consider. Non-riders were attracted by the idea of a mechanical horse due to their safety concerns surrounding real horses. Other things to consider would be the monetary savings brought about by mechanical horses, due to the need for fewer horses at riding schools, and subsequent savings on horse husbandry.
The students all received a certificate to commemorate their attendance at the conference, which they were invited to by the research group Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence, who together with the BHS formed a panel of judges to listen to the findings. Research presented was collated by the judging panel and will be used by the BHS in future projects.
The research was carried out by Sophie Osbourne, Claire Phippen, Helen Griggs, Becca Marshall, Becca Hancock, Beth Broom, Ilona Wells Lynette Cox, Tash Taylor, and Georgia Pascoe.