Lyn Hopegood is Senior Lecturer and Equine Research Co-ordinator at the Department of Land-Based Studies at Nottingham Trent University
How did you get where you are today?
I’ve owned horses ever since I was a teenager but never wanted to work with them full-time. I took a secretarial course at college and then decided to teach riding to earn extra money so I could buy a horse.
I got my BHSAI and worked freelance and at local riding schools. I decided to improve my riding and did an Advanced National Certificate in Equine Business Management at Warwickshire College. I then got the job as yard manager for Writtle Agricultural College and lectured in business management. I also qualified as a BHSII.
I already had a great deal of practical experience and, after a few years, I decided I wanted to do a pure equine science degree, rather than do one that involved riding and stable management. De Montfort University in Lincolnshire provided the only available course so I studied there. During my holidays I did a variety of work placements, including working in Ohio, USA at a college equestrian centre as well as at the Yorkshire Riding Centre in Harrogate.
My third year dissertation involved looking at the effect of a supplement on the mechanical properties of hoof horn. It was a subject I became hooked on, especially as there was little scientific information available on this subject. I then had the opportunity to study for a PhD at De Montfort University in Leicester under the supervision of Professor Latham and Major Reilly.
I always promised myself that before I got a job I would finish writing up myPhD. However, finances were a limiting factor and I secured a lecturing position at Nottingham Trent University.
What does a typical day involve?
I arrive at the university at about 8.30 am. I lecture 17.5 hours a week, which doesn’t leave much time for lesson preparation and marking of course work. My subjects range from anatomy and physiology, health and disease, rehabilitation and exercise physiology to business management, the equine industry and the sports horse.
My lectures vary between lectures and practicals, students also get to present seminars, as well so I may even be on the receiving end of a lecture!
The development of equine research is also part of my remit this year, so I liase with othermembers of staff and look for funding for different projects.
What are your normal working hours?
I am contracted for 37 hours a week and tend to get to work at 8.30 am and try to leave by 5.30 pm but this is rarely the case. If I do manage to leave on time, then I usually end up taking work home during the evenings or weekends.
What qualifications have you got?
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is seeing students grasp new and difficult concepts, I also enjoy tutoring students for their final year dissertations.
What is the worst thing about your job?
The worst thing about my job is the long hours and constant deadlines for lecture preparation.
What advice would you offer to someone who is looking to enter your profession?
As the employment market for equine lecturers has expanded and there is now more competition for jobs, I would suggest someone trying to enter the profession should gain as much practical experience as they can both before and during their university education.
For teaching at a university as opposed to a college, postgraduate qualifications have also become much more important and it is difficult to find someone qualified to a high practical level with a relevant PhD. If you have come up through the BHS structure and teach riding, you will have a good idea whether teaching is for you or not, although it is very different standing in a lecture room than amanege.
There is also an opportunity for these UFD graduates and HND graduates from other institutions to attend a summer school, which would allow them entry onto the final year of the BSc (Hons) in Equine Sports Science.
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