Equine experts celebrate honorary degrees from Writtle University College

Writtle University College (WUC) in Essex has awarded honorary degrees to three outstanding members of the equine sector.

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

The event, which has held at Chelmsford’s historic Cathedral, celebrated 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, said: “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.”

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.

Ros said: “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.”

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 is highly supportive of WUC’s BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science degree.

Justine said: “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.”

In 2019, Khadijah Mellah took 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.”


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