Equine student ‘jumping for joy’ at return to Enniskillen Campus

CORNER DUNNE RI Farm
SECOND YEAR: Michelle Dunne is in the second year of a BSc (Hons) programme in Equine Management at CAFRE’s Enniskillen Campus.

MY name is Michelle Dunne and I am from Dublin. I have just returned to CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus, for the second year of the BSc (Hons) programme in Equine Management.

I thoroughly enjoyed first year at Enniskillen Campus.

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Michelle Dunne jumping her horse Samsun (A One Your Highness) at Carrickmines Equestrian Centre.

During the Covid-19 lockdown I had to adapt to the new world of online learning, video calls and digital only submissions. The campus staff were really helpful as we all got to grips with the use of technology for teaching and learning.

I was fortunate to have been awarded the Coolmore travel bursary and I had been looking forward to the study tour to Kentucky, which unfortunately had to be postponed due to Covid-19. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to go to Kentucky soon.

Also during lockdown I was privileged that I was able to keep riding my horse that I keep at Carrickmines Equestrian Centre in Dublin. He is a 16-hand 12-year-old thoroughbred gelding. I was disappointed that competitions had to be cancelled and that I was not able to compete.

As restrictions began to lift, I have been able to compete him in the under 20s metre class in the unaffiliated eventing league held at Killossery Lodge Stud, Dublin, where we qualified for the Championship on September 26. It has been fantastic to be able to do some competing again.

During 2019 I was selected to represent Ireland and to travel to Austria as part of the Irish Sport Horse (ISH) Studbook Young Breeders’ junior team. This is a joint programme between Teagasc and Horse Sport Ireland and is aimed at those between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age who are interested in assessing, exhibiting and breeding performance horses.

Despite lockdown, I have been able to participate in the Teagasc ‘Let’s Talk Equine’ webinars during which we have heard discussions on developing a breeding programme, various bloodlines and the production of young stock. During the summer I have taken part in an ongoing focus group which is looking at ways to further develop the Young Breeders programme. I would love to be able to represent Ireland at the senior level in this competition in the future.

I was pleased when we were told that we were able to return to campus this September. Since returning, I am planning on starting to ride out the campus point-to-pointers again in the mornings before classes start – I really enjoyed doing this last year. Riding out was something completely new for me coming from a predominantly sport horse background, however the campus school masters gave me a great introduction.

I am enjoying my time immensely at Enniskillen Campus – I would highly recommend studying at CAFRE to anyone with the interest in horses and who would like to pursue a career in the equine industry. I gained invaluable skills and experience. I would encourage you to look at the further and higher education courses available at CAFRE.

n CAFRE contact details are www.cafre.ac.uk, Discover CAFRE on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Please keep your eyes on the website for details of forthcoming virtual open days.

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