BETA Equine Thesis of the Year Final

10 Oct 2023


The search for the winner of the BETA Equine Thesis of the Year Award, which recognises and rewards excellence in undergraduate study, is almost over. Four finalists are now in the running and will present their thesis to a panel of judges during an online event on Sunday 29 October.

Universities and colleges offering equine-related degrees throughout the UK and Ireland were each invited to submit one entry, with the following making it through to the finals:
● Bishop Burton College – Lauren Wain.   An Investigation into the Influence of Balance
and Proprioceptive Pads on Equine Posture and Kinematics
● University of Liverpool – Hannah Shanks-Boon. The Effect of Body Condition Score on Tongue Size, Soft Palate Angle and Basihyoid Depth in Horses
● Writtle University College – Nadine L Mostert. Oat Straw in the Haylage Diet: Exploring the Effect on Equine Weight, Bowel Movements, and Chewing and Consumption
● University of Limerick – Laura Dayot. Application of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to Measure the Composition of Mare’s Colostrum and Milk

The BETA Equine Thesis of the Year finals will start at 2pm and is open to the public, trade and members of the academic community. To register your interest to attend, contact the BETA office for a link or use the following registration form: Register to attend final

Each finalist will present her work and while it is being considered by the judges, will take the opportunity to respond to questions from the audience. The judges will then return to announce the winner and runner-up of the award.

“The Equine Thesis of the Year Award is a great way for us to acknowledge the extremely high standard of undergraduate study that is being produced at our universities and colleges,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “There is some incredibly impressive work taking place and some exciting and diverse ideas coming through – all of which bode well for the future of our industry.


“Taking a ringside seat makes sure we can hear about the work that is being done – straight from the horse’s mouth. And maintaining the event online makes it accessible to everyone. We are really looking forward to finding out more about the theses and discovering who is crowned winner. We wish the students and their universities the very best of luck and congratulate them on making it this far.”
This year’s final judges are:
• Dr Georgina Crossman – a research consultant and owner of GK Crossman Consultancy. Georgina works with a number of organisations, including The Horse Trust, World Horse Welfare and Redwings Horse Sanctuary. She is also the administrator for the National Equine Forum. She has guest lectured at various institutions, including L’Institut Agro Dijon (France), speaking on subjects such as the structure of the horse sector and the relationship between the horse industry and government.
• Dr Katie Williams – an equine nutritionist with 25 years’ experience. She gained a masters degree in equine science from Writtle College and received the Edgar Pye Scholarship for her dissertation. In 2023 Katie completed her PhD in veterinary medicine research at the University of Glasgow exploring the status of nutrition in the veterinary profession. She has presented her findings at various conferences most recently the Equine Science Society Symposium in Dallas, Texas. As technical and product development manager at Dengie, she is responsible for creating new products and ensuring they are legally compliant. Katie is very honoured to be Vice-Chair of the BETA Feed Committee.
• Dr Danica Pollard- Dee completed a BSc degree at Rhodes University, South Africa, where she majored in Botany and Microbiology and also completed a one-year Honours degree in Microbiology. She then completed a Masters in Animal Breeding and Genetics at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences where she conducted research on the transmission of dwarfism in the Friesian horse as well as how inherited disorders are managed in the breeding of European sports horses. Dee went on to complete a PhD through the Royal Veterinary College while being based primarily at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) remaining there for three further years as a postdoctoral research scientist. She currently works as a researcher at the British Horse Society on a number of different projects and has a keen interest in road safety. She is also an independent consultant working mostly with vets conducting research, advising on study design, statistical analysis and getting the research published in peer-reviewed journals.

• Liz Benwell – editor of leading trade title Equestrian Trade News. Liz began her career in journalism as a newspaper reporter, was the first editor of Your Horse magazine and is a self-confessed horsey ‘anorak’. She has enjoyed competing in many equestrian sports at amateur level, with long-distance riding a particular favourite. Liz has two horses, one of which is rehomed from World Horse Welfare, and rides most days.
To confirm your place at the online BETA Equine Thesis of the Year Award, contact BETA on