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Equine student thrilled to get first role as groom for international rider

Published: 01/02/2017

An Equine student from Salisbury is looking forward to her first experience as a volunteer groom for an international rider.

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Alana Armstrong Smith, pictured her with Drum, a horse from Grovely Riding Centre, talks about her excitement at being a groom for international rider Amy Westcott-Allen in Belgium.

Alana Armstrong-Smith travelled to Belgium earlier this week to support Amy Westcott-Allen who competes at the popular CSI 2+ show jumping event with three horses in Opglabbeek from 2-5 February.

Alana is in the second year of the Level 3 Horse Management at the Salisbury campus, which offers students the chance to develop their riding skills and gain the academic skills and practical experience necessary for a management role in a professional equine environment.

Students spend much of their time at Grovely Riding Centre and Druids Lodge.

The 19-year-old said: “I am really very excited about this opportunity and cannot wait to be Amy’s groom.

“I really enjoy working with horses and am looking forward to helping her load the horses, put equipment in the lorry, help with all the jumps and generally look after the horses, preparing them for the show.”

Equine lecturer Cathy Pilgrim said she was delighted for Alana.

She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Alana.

“Horses need to be turned out to a very high standard for this sort of competition and Alana is great at this.

“She is very good at plaiting and tacking up, which are all skills the students learned and practiced in the first year of their course.

“I can’t wait to hear all about it when she gets back.”

As part of the course, all Equine students need to carry out voluntary work as part of their competition unit.

Alana used social media to ask riders if anyone needed any support and was overwhelmed at the response she received.

She said: “Lots of people got in touch with me including Amy who said she needed support at an upcoming event where she was taking three horses.

“I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to help her and it was exciting that the competition was in Belgium.

“This has all happened in just a few weeks so I got my passport sorted and met with her at a training session where I also helped her with the horses.

“I can’t wait for this experience.”

Internationally trained rider Amy runs Berkshire based AWA Equine, which specialises in horse sales lessons, clinics and event.

She previously ran her own livery yard but decided her true passion within the equine industry was competing and coaching others.

For more information about the equine courses we offer at Wiltshire College Salisbury and Lackham, visit http://www.wiltshire.ac.uk/coursestng/Category/SubCategory/78.

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