The Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year award for 2009 will be awarded on Friday 13 November

The award, sponsored by Merial Animal Health and presented by The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), is designed to showcase the best academic research in the equestrian industry and recognise outstanding academic achievement.

Five equestrian students have been shortlisted for the award: Holly Claridge from the Royal Veterinary College, Ann Clausen from Writtle College, Sarah Craighill from Hadlow College, James Daly from the University of Limerick and Lucy Docker from Harper Adams University College.

The students will have to defend their theses, which range in subject matter from The 3D anatomy of the cervical articular process joint, to, An Analysis of career length and performance in Irish National Hunt Horses, in front of a panel of judges.

“The horse is assuming an ever-more important role in rural Britain, as a leisure pursuit, in sport and for landowners,” said Brian Warren, chief executive of RASE.

“We hope the award encourages other academic institutions and their students to continue valuable work in the field of equestrianism.”

Judge Dr Emma Batson of Merial Animal Health, said: “The quality of entrants this year has been excellent and there is some very valuable work taking place that deserves a great deal of respect and recognition.”

“We are looking forward to meeting the finalists, but I’m sure it’s going to be a challenge to select an overall winner!”

Winners of the Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year will have the opportunity to present their thesis to the National Equine Forum in March, as well as receiving a cash prize, a trophy and membership of RASE.