Heather Newnham made her love of horses into a career through Melbourne Polytechnic's Bachelor of Equine Studies.
A Melbourne Polytechnic study grant for $12,000 led her to the United States to complete a short course in Advanced Equine Reproduction. Heather is now busy working in the industry.
Heather Newnham's love of horses started at an early age but it wasn't until she enrolled in the Melbourne Polytechnic Bachelor of Equine Studies that she began to seriously contemplate a career in the equine industry.
Heather started riding lessons during high school and worked part-time at her riding school and then at a stud farm. She completed the Certificate II in Equine Industry at school as part of a VET (Vocational Education and Training) program. "Throughout high school I thought I wanted to work with animals," she says. "Then when I was in Year 10 I went to an open day at a TAFE, and they had information about an equine studies course you could do as part of VCE."
"At the end of Year 11 I found out about the Bachelor of Equine Studies at NMIT [Melbourne Polytechnic’s former name] and I thought: that's what I want to do."
Heather says the Melbourne Polytechnic Bachelor of Equine Studies helped her prepare for work in the industry. "Without it I probably wouldn't have a clue what I'm doing. My favourite subjects were always about reproduction but I liked all the practical aspects of things. You can learn all the stuff in theory but without practising it, it's actually quite hard to remember it."
She has fond memories of Northern Lodge, Melbourne Polytechnic's farm and stud at Eden Park. "The staff are really friendly and the horses are fun to work with. You see a variety of things because of all the horses they have."
She appreciated the news bulletins sent to all students about short courses and career development opportunities, and an Melbourne Polytechnic study grant made many things possible. "I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had without it. I wouldn't have been able to explore the equine industry in another country."
During her studies Heather won an Melbourne Polytechnic study grant for $12,000, sponsored by Iskander Racing and Breeding. The grant funded a study trip to the United States, where she spent five months travelling with another Melbourne Polytechnic study grant recipient. Heather attended the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and completed a short course in Advanced Equine Reproduction at Colorado State University, where she learnt about the possibility of an internship at CSU.
The university had never taken a student from outside the US for the internship before, but Heather applied anyway. She was asked for a phone interview and was then informed she had been successful. However, a downturn in the US economy led to a tightening on the allocation of temporary work visas which eventually resulted in the cancellation of the internship.
Although disappointed at the cancellation of the internship, Heather has lost none of her drive to progress in the industry and is now applying for further study in veterinary science and possible careers in equine reproduction.
At present, Heather is working at a thoroughbred stud in Euroa, and as a part-time technician at the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital in the Equine Reproduction Unit.
Bachelor of Equine Studies