A British student has received a national award for their work looking at straw in horse diets.
Writtle University College equine performance and business management graduate Nadine Mostert won the 2023 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Equine Thesis of the Year Award with Oat straw in the Haylage Diet: Exploring the effect on equine weight, bowel movements and chewing and consumption.
Mostert undertook feeding trials on a group of horses in an attempt to expand knowledge and change attitudes around the inclusion of straw in equine diets. She received a trophy and cash prize after four finalists presented their theses to a panel of judges at an online event late last month.
Mostert was thrilled to receive the BETA Thesis of the Year Award. “My thesis represents not only a personal achievement, but also a significant contribution to both the academic and wider equestrian community as we try to make breakthroughs in combatting equine obesity without neglecting psychological welfare.
“This award inspires me to continue pushing the boundaries of knowledge, in particular the practical application of that knowledge, and I am excited to see how the research will continue to evolve in the future,” she said.
The judges praised all four finalists for their practically applied topics of real relevance to the equine industry.
Dr Georgina Crossman, who headed the four-strong judging panel, said the election of the winner was a unanimous decision by the judges.
“Her dissertation was highly relevant to horse owners and the wider industry. Nadine also translated her work in a very accessible way for the lay audience in her infographic,” said Crossman, a research consultant and owner of GK Crossman Consultancy.
The other judges were Dr Katie Williams, the technical and product development manager at Dengie; Dr Dee Pollard, a veterinary research consultant and researcher at the British Horse Society, and Equestrian Trade News editor Liz Benwell.
This is the eighth year BETA has run the competition which recognises the best in undergraduate study across the UK and Ireland. An audience from the public, industry and academia watched the finalists’ presentations online.
Universities and colleges offering equine-related degrees are each invited to submit one undergraduate dissertation entry for the annual BETA Equine Thesis of the Year.
The finalists were:
● Lauren Wain (Bishop Burton College): An Investigation into the Influence of Balance and Proprioceptive Pads on Equine Posture and Kinematics
● Hannah Shanks-Boon (University of Liverpool): The Effect of Body Condition Score on Tongue Size, Soft Palate Angle and Basihyoid Depth in Horses
● Laura Dayot (University of Limerick): Application of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to Measure the Composition of Mare’s Colostrum and Milk
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