One of the biggest days in the calendar for equine students at the Enniskillen campus of CAFRE took place recently when they hosted a Careers Day.

This year marked the first in-person Careers Day since 2020 as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Careers Day also includes presentations of bursaries by leading equine companies and other organisations.

The day-long event began with the setting up of trade stands in the exhibition area, followed by tours of the magnificent facilities which include the stables, riding simulators and other teaching aids.

Final year students also benefited from mock interview sessions with representatives of major companies.

Following lunch, the industry exhibition was opened where prospective students could speak with a wide range of industry representatives about career options.

These included some of the biggest racing and breeding establishments in Ireland and beyond, such as Godolphin, Coolmore and Ballydoyle.

In addition, there were many other leading organisations involved in equestrian sport and breeding such as the Irish Thoroughbred Board, Army careers advice – especially within mounted regiments – and many support companies such as feed suppliers, including Bluegrass.

One locally-based company is Lough Shore Equestrian, run by Sam O’Sullivan from near Derrygonnelly, who is an equine sports massage therapist.

Her service is vital for the recovery of horses suffering from muscular problems and she emphasised it was not a luxury pampering treatment.

She said some vets often referred horses for massage treatment, and her work helps enhance muscle tone and an increased range of motion, improved performance, promoted healing by increasing blood and nutrient flow, reduced inflammation and swelling in joints, stimulated circulation, relieved muscle tension, and reduced risk of injury and improved recovery time after injury or illness.

Sam travels to horse yards and stables to carry out her massage treatment.

The industry exhibition featured some former students at the campus who were now working for a wide range of companies.

For example, Chris Armstrong, from Antrim, who is now the racing secretary with Ballydoyle Racing, helps to organise everything with regards to logistics to ensure horse and riders get to race meetings.

He graduated with an Honours Degree at Enniskillen and after working for spells in the USA and Australia, came back to Ireland to his post based in Co. Tipperary.

Another former student on the Coolmore Stud stand was Danielle McKeever, who spoke to many of the students at the campus about opportunities through this global breeding business.

One of the guests at the lunch was Councillor Allan Rainey, Vice-Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, who welcomed people who had travelled from across Ireland.

He said the Enniskillen campus was recognised internationally and the Council and local district in general were immensely proud of the success of the campus, which he described as one of the best-kept secrets in the area, and which contributed significantly to the local economy.

He said students had enrolled from Germany, Spain, France and the US to study in Enniskillen, such was its international acclaim and esteem.

Councillor Rainey commended the staff, led by Mrs. Jane Elliott. He said he had learned a wealth of knowledge from a tour of the facilities earlier in the morning.

Later, a range of bursaries were awarded, and a report on these will be given in a later edition of this newspaper.