Beth Field-Harvey is a BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy student. As part of her course, she is on placement at Cloudstrider Equestrian, where she has been involved in supporting the team in the run-up to the, now postponed, Olympics.
Beth said: “With 25 horses stabled at Cloudstrider, our days are understandably very busy! Mornings consist of feeding, mucking out, putting horses on the horse walker or hand-walking those who require it and ensuring every horse has hay and water. We then have different horses to hack out daily, which is much more pleasant now the sun is making an appearance!
“Throughout the day, it is also important to have the horses tacked up for event rider Alex Hua Tian and dressage rider Sarah Higgins so that they are able to school their horses without unnecessary delays.
“Before lockdown, some training and competitions were taking place off-site so packing and unpacking the lorries and ensuring the horses looked competition-ready was important. I had the opportunity to go show jumping training with Alex as his groom and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to test my organisational skills; prepping the horses so they were ready to jump, and sorting them out post-jump as well as altering the jumps for Alex while he was riding.
“Had the Olympics gone ahead this year, I would have stayed at Cloudstrider to continue the everyday care of the horses remaining on the yard.
“Alex would have only taken a few horses away, so there would still be a lot of horses on the yard to care for and hack/lunge daily; particularly as he would not be here to school them himself.
“Sarah would also be out competing and so working as part of a team to keep things running smoothly, would be even more important.
“I have been invited back to Cloudstrider Equestrian next summer for the re-scheduled Olympic preparations and I am very much looking forward to being a part of the team for the 2021 Olympics.”
Looking back on why she chose to study at Harper Adams, Beth said: “As soon as I visited Harper, I knew it was the university for me.
“Being shown the vast range of facilities available to vet physio students, including the canine hydrotherapy pool, physio treatment rooms and electrotherapy equipment, I knew that I would have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience; what better way to learn?
“I felt a sense of community and support throughout the campus which has since proven itself, and I feel both my learning and opportunities to build relationships has thrived from this.
“As part of my course, I’ve now been on two placements and I have absolutely loved both. They have confirmed to me that my decision to work with animals was the right one, and particularly the satisfaction that I got from aiding rehabilitation of injured and post-surgical dogs at Northwest K9 Hydrotherapy, showed that I was on the right career path. I have really been able to test my anatomical knowledge throughout both placements and this has given me the confidence boost that I need as I go into my final year.”
On where her interest in being a veterinary physiotherapist stemmed from, Beth said: “I have always wanted to work with animals but it wasn't until about six years ago that I decided I wanted to become a veterinary physiotherapist.
“I have always enjoyed being around animals and so it made sense to choose a career with them.
“Initially, I was more interested in the equine side of physio, however, throughout the course my interest in canine physio has grown. Veterinary physiotherapy is still a growing field, with a lot of people unaware of its benefits. I look forward to assisting with its advancement over the coming years along with the next generation of vet physios.”