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Develop the skills for success with an Equine Course at CAFRE

June 11, 2020

Arlene Doris, Equine Lecturer

Northwest Donegal is home to CAFRE equine graduate Amy McGarvey, and it is here that she has started her own business, Errigal Equestrian Centre. This riding school and trekking centre is ideally situated at the foot of Mount Errigal, a picturesque area which attracts many tourists each year.

Amy graduated from our BSc Honours Degree in Equine Management in 2016 and went on to complete an Internship with Horse Sport Ireland. This opportunity is part of CAFRE’s ongoing internship programme where a number of internships are available to CAFRE graduates in businesses or organisations in the equine industry. The placements vary each year but the opportunity remains the same; a chance to get a foot on the career ladder and make contacts in the equine sector.

While completing her internship, Amy gained her HSI Coaching qualifications. When her internship was complete, she took a head girl position in a Grand Prix dressage yard in Scotland. During that time she also completed her British Horse Society exams, with the view to becoming a professional coach.

Returning home, Amy saw an opportunity to develop her own business and so Errigal Equestrian was born. Using the skills she had gained through her degree, Amy analysed the market and set about creating a business plan. “As part of our business module, we had to create a business plan and projected financial statements. This gave me confidence when it came to carrying out this part as I knew I had the tools to complete it.”

Managing a yard is something that was also familiar to Amy. Students on our BSc (Hons) in Equine Management course play a predominant role in the management of the breeding unit at Enniskillen Campus. This allows students to gain a valuable insight into the working practices of a yard. They gain valuable knowledge of record keeping, stock management and develop an understanding of the financial aspect of running an equine enterprise.

CAFRE Enniskillen Campus BSc (Hons) Equine Management Student Amy McGarvey Receives Godolphin Bursary, 2016

Like many equine business owners, Amy has been affected by measures introduced to reduce the spread of Covid19. “Errigal Equestrian Centre opened in 2019 and we enjoyed a fantastic first season, open from April to November before closing for the winter season. We were due to open again in April of 2020 but due to the impact of Covid 19 we have had to postpone this indefinitely.”

As well as running a riding school, Amy also coaches clients privately although this too has been difficult during this time. She has been getting to grips with technology and using it to keep in touch with her clients. She is encouraging her clients to use exercise to improve their core fitness so they will be in shape when they return to the saddle.

“Looking to the future, it is difficult to make any decisions as of yet in regards to the centre. If the restrictions ease in the coming weeks, we have risk assessed every area of the business and the health and safety of our staff and our customers has and will always be at the forefront of our policies. It’s a matter of reviewing the situation as every new piece of information comes out and continually assessing the circumstances.”

We wish Amy every success with her new business and we know that she is ready to welcome you to Errigal Equestrian when it is safe to do so.

If you would like to find out more about the courses available at CAFRE Enniskillen Campus click here. You can apply for our Higher Education courses through UCAS. Applications for Further Education courses are taken directly through our website. You can also keep up to date with everything that is happening at Enniskillen Campus by following us on Instagram @discovercafreequine or Discover CAFRE on Facebook.