Studying at Enniskillen Campus offers international equine opportunities
June 2, 2023
Alex Bothwell left Fivemiletown High School after completing her GCSEs with her heart set firmly on a career in the equine industry. Having grown up around horses and competing from an early age, Alex developed a love for the equine sector. She applied to the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) and completed a Level 3 qualification in Equine Management at Enniskillen Campus.
Whilst at CAFRE, Alex was introduced to the worldwide opportunities that exist for equestrians. During her Level 3 programme Alex had the opportunity to visit Holland and see first hand equine systems in action. On looking back at her career to date, Alex recommends taking chances to work internationally.
“It’s a completely different experience than grooming/riding in Ireland and you get to see the world while doing something that you love! You get the chance to meet so many amazing people that stay friends with you throughout your life. Nevertheless, grooming is not an easy job, and you will have some long, challenging days. Despite that, it is very rewarding when you see the horses you look after winning. It’s a proud moment because they couldn’t do it without all the caring YOU do for them!” commented Alex.
Following her passion for equine, Alex decided to widen her horizons and moved to England and completed an equine degree at Writtle University College, graduating in 2018.
“After completing my degree studies, I reconnected with the business who I had completed my work placement with whilst I was studying at CAFRE. The family had moved to America and offered me the chance to work with them as a Groom. I didn’t hesitate and was delighted at the opportunity to groom up to 4* Level for the International Irish Rider, Nicky Gilligan. I gained great experience and insights into the equine industry and further developed my knowledge whilst working for Nicky. I continued to learn how to care, groom and manage horses competing at Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level. The contacts I made whilst studying at Enniskillen Campus turned out to be very important for my first graduate employment offer” recalls Alex.
“With a desire to return home, I decided the time was right for me to start my own business. Growing up we never had a shop in our area to purchase equestrian clothing. I knew there was a gap in the market and made the move to establish an equestrian and country wear shop. In October 2021, along with my sister, we opened RoaleX Equestrian and Country Wear in Fivemiletown. Owning a business comes with lots of responsibilities: monitoring stock in store and online, managing finances, creating content for social media, interacting with customers and the most exciting element, procuring new season stock around six months before its arrival in store” commented Alex.
“Looking back, I can say my days studying at CAFRE offered lots of fun and friendships. I remain in close contact with my classmates and fondly remember the happy times we shared at Enniskillen Campus. I can certainly say the college offered me an enjoyable learning experience in an environment filled with what I love – horses!” concluded Alex.
If you too have a passion to make your way in the equine industry, discover courses delivered at Enniskillen Campus.
CAFRE offers courses suited to those leaving school with GCSE and A-Level or equivalent qualifications and supports the development of skills for those working in the industry through work-based learning and short courses.