Students are flocking to study horse-related degrees and further education courses as part of the post-Olympic effect.
The number of students applying for equine degree courses at Moulton College, Northants, is up by 90% — a potential increase of 80 students for next year — and Hartpury, Glos, is experiencing a 10% growth.
Increases are also being experienced by Myerscough, Lancs — 17% across all its equine courses — and at Writtle in Essex and Kingston Maurward, Dorset.
“We have introduced a new degree in equine therapy for next year, which is proving very popular,” said Moulton College deputy principal Lindsey Johnson.
“These are not students who want a career as riders, but rather supporting the horse as an athlete.
“People are definitely more interested in equestrianism and the industry behind it and that’s because of the high calibre of horse and rider we saw last year.”
A hundred more students than last year have also applied for Moulton College’s vocational further education courses in equine subjects.
Hartpury, which has Olympic gold-winning dressage rider Carl Hester and former British dressage team selector Nick Burton on its staff, says the Games have had a huge effect.
Vice principal Luke Rake said: “The link with Charlotte [Dujardin], Carl and Nick Burton has been incredible for our students. I think the increase is partly the Carl factor, but also because we are probably the largest equine education college in Europe, possibly the world.”
But will all these extra students go on to jobs in the horseworld? Not necessarily, say the colleges.
“It’s the same as any industry in the current climate — not every law graduate gets to practise law — but if the skills they learn on the course are transferable, they can take them into other industries,” said Julia Gray, who heads the equine courses at Myerscough.
Mr Rake at Hartpury agreed, adding: “The equestrian industry could grow as a result of the Olympics.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (14 March 2013)