Posted 1 February 2013
A monthly special featuring a current student from Harper Adams.
21-year-old Harper Adams student, Anna Meynell, is hoping to increase the awareness of a rare breed of horse by representing it at agricultural shows and events.
Anna, who studies Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM), has a two-year-old Cleveland Bay called Brackenbrae Birlinn.
As she was able to live at home during her placement year at Howkins and Harrison Estate Agents, Anna saved her earnings to buy a young horse.
Anna, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, said: “I have ridden since I was three so horses and ponies have been an important part of my life.
“I found Birlinn on the CBHS website last November and after watching several video clips and spending hours on the phone to his breeder, we bought him, unseen, from Perthshire.
“I had no idea at the time that the Cleveland Bay is one of the most endangered British breeds and is a high priority for the Rare Breed Survival Trust.
“Although he had been well-handled as a foal there was a lot of work to be done to prepare him for the show ring. My main aim was to socialise him at shows before he is put under saddle in a year or so.”
With help and encouragement from an experienced friend, Anna and Birlinn started showing last spring. Their first big achievement was Champion at the Three Counties Show in Malvern.
This led to a good performance during the summer at county and rare breed shows, and Birlinn was presented with the In-Hand Performance Scheme Award from the breed society.
Anna said: “I am amazed we have come so far already. Birlinn takes up lots of time and patience but he has given me lots of pleasure and his success at shows has been very rewarding. We are quickly gaining respect within the equestrian community.”
Currently working towards the final year of her degree, Anna is now concentrating on her studies and dissertation.
She said: “Birilinn is now having the winter off, so I have time to study and work hard.
“I chose Harper Adams because the course has an excellent reputation, the placement year was attractive and because modules put theory into practice with real-life case studies.
“It’s also nice being amongst like-minded individuals.”
Anna is pursuing a career as a Chartered Surveyor, is a member of Netherseal YFC and enjoys water skiing and sailing.