Writtle University Award Honorary Degrees to Equestrian Stars

Khadijah Mellah, Justine Harrison, and Ros Canter - WUC Honorary graduates

Writtle University award honorary degrees to three outstanding members of the equestrian sector, as their 2021 graduation ceremony got underway.

On October 29th, Ros Canter, Justine Harrison and Khadijah Mellah attended Writtle’s first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019.

The event, held at Chelmsford’s historic Cathedral, celebrated both the success of the classes of 2020 and 2021 and highlighted Ros, Justine and Khadijah’s impressive achievements.

WUC’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, explained:

We were delighted to confer honorary awards as part of our graduation ceremony. Khadijah Mellah, Justine Harrison and Ros Canter are an inspiration to our students and have made incredible contributions to the equine sector.”

Writtle’s Honorary Degrees 2021

Ros Canter gained individual and team gold medals in the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Other international wins include Ballindenisk CCI4*-L with Allstar B. She visited WUC’s campus in January 2020 to provide coaching and showcase her famous ‘Training To Win’ demonstration.

On her appointment, Ros delighted:

In 2021, Lordships Graffalo and I won the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials CCI4*-S and finished second at the Blenheim Horse Trials. He’s an incredible horse and was bred and produced by the team at the Writtle University College’s Lordships Stud. It was fun to visit the campus and stud with Lordships Graffalo and see the real passion and understanding the students and staff have for the equine sector. I was excited to have been invited to accept an honorary degree.”

Meanwhile, Justine Harrison is one of the UK’s leading equine behaviourists. She strives to encourage the horse-owning population to implement the most ethical training techniques and adopt more horse-centred management methods. She has been highly supportive of WUC’s BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science degree. Harrison now awarded her very own Writtle University honorary degree from the establishment;

I feel very honoured and extremely grateful to be receiving this award. It is particularly significant for me to receive this from Writtle University College, as the equine behavioural science team is leading the way with research-led practice. Their BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science degree is the first of its kind – not only teaching evidence-based theory but also training the students how to apply that knowledge in practice.”

Finally Khadijah Mellah took home one of the Writtle University honourary degrees from the ceremony too. In 2019, Khadijah Mellah earned first place in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood, becoming the first British Muslim woman to win a UK horse race. The Riding a Dream Academy, named after a documentary about Khadijah’s story, is inspired by her success and helps young people from under represented areas to pursue a career in racing.

Khadijah said:

I feel extremely privileged to be receiving this honorary degree and to now be connected to Writtle University College. I hope I have encouraged the graduates to open doors to opportunities with confidence as they continue through life. I cannot wait to work with Writtle in the future and lend a helping hand to all students trying to get into the equestrian world.”

The three equine experts congratulated the assembled graduates on their achievements. They offered graduates words of advice, based on their own experiences.

WUC’s equine facilities recently underwent a two million pound investment. Offering a range of equine programmes at college and university level, they include the recently-launched MSc in Equine Performance Science. The equine campus also includes two spacious indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, a horse walker and an equine hydrotherapy treadmill. It is the only UK higher education institution to feature a bespoke horse stud on campus. It is home to broodmares, foals, stallions and young stock.

For more information on courses and facilities available at the University College’s countryside estate, visit writtle.ac.uk.

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