University Centre Bishop Burton student selected as finalist in BETA Thesis of the Year award for second year in a row

Mon 16th October 2023
University Centre Bishop Burton Student Selected As Finalist In Beta Thesis Of The Year Award For Second Year In A Row

University Centre Bishop Burton (UCBB) equine graduate Lauren Wain has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Equine Thesis of the Year award.

A means of recognising the achievements of equine undergraduates, the competition was developed by BETA in the late 1990s. Higher education institutions who offer equine degree level programmes are invited to submit one entry and this is the second consecutive year a student from UCBB has been selected as a finalist.

Lauren’s thesis entitled ‘An investigation into the influence of balance and proprioceptive pads on equine posture and kinematics’ was chosen by expert member of the Equine faculty, Higher Education Academic Lead Rebecca Brassington, to represent University Centre. 

Lauren, from Heanor in Derbyshire, who recently graduated with a BSc (Hons) Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation, was thrilled her thesis was nominated. She commented “It was a bit of a surprise to discover that my thesis had been chosen to enter the competition, but such an honour. I am excited to have been selected as a finalist.”

Lauren’s thesis was inspired by a demonstration of Sure Foot equine stability pads by guest lecturer, equine therapy and rehabilitation professional Donna Barker. Wanting to progress onto a career in equine physiotherapy, Lauren was instantly struck by the similarities to canine wobble boards, an area that had a wealth of research attached to it, providing a fantastic comparison to the application of this approach within equine.

“Balance and posture are a real interest of mine and I intend to specialise in balance and stability training in the future,” said Lauren. “My thesis has helped me to explore a personal passion, whilst also developing skills and understanding I will be able to use as an equine practitioner. It’s been lovely to be able to work on a project that will fill a research gap within the equine sector and be of use to other professionals.”

She continued “I gathered so much material that I am now taking my research a stage further studying towards an MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy focusing on how posture can provide insight into emotional and behavioural traits.”

Lauren aims to become published in peer-reviewed scientific equine journals and hopes to share knowledge gained in the year ahead at various conferences. Her research is also being used to inform product development by Wendy Murdoch, the owner of Sure Foot.

Rebecca Brassington the academic lead for Equine said “We are absolutely thrilled to have another of our students’ hard work recognised by this prestigious competition. Lauren has a real passion for her vocation and research. When considering candidates for entry she immediately sprung to mind, as I have been continually impressed with her dedication and commitment. I can’t wait to see the results of her continued research and to see her receive recognition by becoming published. I am confident that this is the start of a very successful career.”

Lauren’s thesis will be judged alongside submissions from other prestigious universities. Each finalist will present their work to a judging panel made up of Liz Benwell, editor of leading trade title Equestrian Trade News, Dr Danica Pollard-Dee, an independent consultant and researcher at the British Horse Society, equine nutritionist Dr Katie Lee and Dr Georgina Crossman owner of GK Crossman Consultancy.

BETA Executive Director Claire Williams said “There is some incredibly impressive work taking place and some exciting and diverse ideas coming through – all of which bode well for the future of our industry. We are really looking forward to finding out more about the theses and discovering who is crowned winner. We wish the students and their universities the very best of luck and congratulate them on making it this far.”

The judging will take place on Sunday 29 October during an online event starting at 2pm, which is open to all.

Just Beverley