Online science conference showcases students’ research *H&H Plus*

  • When the pandemic caused the cancellations of a number of conferences, a group of education professionals decided to organise an online conference to enable equine science students to showcase their research instead. H&H finds out how it went and who won the prizes on offer for the best presentations...

    An online conference showcasing the research of equine science students has demonstrated the “commitment and determination” of the next generation of equine health professionals.

    The event on 15 July, was organised by David Marlin, Jane Williams of Hartpury University, Roberta Ferro De Godoy of Writtle University College and Lorna Cameron of University Centre Sparsholt, following the cancellation of conferences owing to the pandemic.

    Fifty-seven students from 18 education centres took part and prizes were awarded for the best oral and poster presentations in the undergraduate and postgraduate categories, judged by Dr Marlin, Pat Harris of the Waltham Equine Studies Group and Helen Warren of Alltech.

    The winners were: undergraduate poster Prevalence of ulcerative keratitis by Kirsty Stratfull, University of Nottingham; postgraduate poster The perceptions of quality veterinary care by different professional roles within a referral equine hospital by Freya Rook, University of Nottingham; undergraduate oral Effect of breast support on 3D relative displacement and upper-body muscle activity in female horse riders on an equine simulator by Rachel Smith, University Centre Sparsholt; postgraduate oral Competition level does not influence intersegmental coordination between the rider and a riding simulator in sitting trot by Celeste Wilkins, Hartpury University.

    Dr Marlin said the high standard of research is an indication of not only the excellent work being conducted, but demonstrated the “commitment and determination” of the next generation of equine health professionals.

    “It was extremely rewarding to see many students enjoy their moment as they took to the stage to present their research, which I’m sure will represent an important milestone in their future careers,” he said.

    Dr Williams added the event had “exceeded expectations” with fantastic engagement from students and a wider equestrian audience.

    “The students were amazing. It was great to see them take advantage of the opportunity to present their work and showcase the breadth and quality of applied research which is being undertaken to benefit equine health and welfare, as well as horse and rider performance, across higher education institutions,” she said.

    Postgraduate student Ms Wilkins everyone was keen to get their take-home messages across to students, but also to the general horse world.

    “My study was two years in the making and I was really proud of the innovative data analysis that I’ve been able to achieve,” she said.

    “I plan to finish my PhD in early 2021 and I’m hoping to be able to make a difference in riders’ lives with the information from my PhD which focuses specifically on the techniques that result in greater harmony between horse and rider,” she said.

    Undergraduates Nina Robinson, University Centre Bishop Burton, Lilly Harris, Reaseheath College and postgraduates Sue Nixon, University Centre Myerscough, and Isabeau Deckers, Hartpury University were highly commended.

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