Helen Thompson admits that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she started her BTEC first diploma in horse studies at De Montfort University.

She stayed on at college to gain her national diploma before finding a groom’s job in an eventing yard.

“The course was beneficial,” she says. “I probably learned more in my first job, but the course gave me the confidence to get that job.”

After a year as a groom, Helen gave up horses completely and is now pursuing a career in design. However, she maintains that her qualifications have been recognised outside the equestrian industry.

“Just like a degree in politics doesn’t make you a politician, a qualification in horses shows a certain level of intelligence and attainment and doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to remain in the field.”