Posted: 4th May 2023 | Back to news feed


SMB College alumna


SMB College Group recently sat down with their alumna, Irralie Richardson, to talk about her time at the College, her career and her advice for future students.

Irralie studied a BTEC Extended Diploma in Equine Management (Equestrian Professional Skills with Business or Coaching Level 3) before progressing onto a BASc in Equine Performance Science and graduating in 2019 with SMB College Group.

Irralie studied at the College’s Brooksby Campus, their specialised land-based site, which houses the Brooksby Equestrian Centre, with some truly fantastic facilities for students, including an indoor riding arena, outdoor floodlit arena with British Show Jumping approved jumps and a state-of-the-art Equine Rehabilitation Centre.

Irralie chose to study with SMB College Group because she wanted to study something she loved, thinking back on what she enjoyed the most about her time at the College, Irralie fondly remembered the practical and ridden sessions as well as being a member of the Equine Squad, ‘My time on the Equine Squad and the nutrition lectures that we had, these have been so valuable for managing how I feed my own animals.’

Irralie has managed to balance her love for horses with her education and as she develops her career, Irralie continues to be a part of the Equine world, working in UK Trade Sales and Business Development for Hilton Herbs, a family-run business dedicated to manufacturing top-quality herbal feed supplements and healthcare products for horses and pets.


Irralie Richardson


What has been your career journey so far to be where you are now?

Throughout my time at Brooksby I worked part time as a groom for several local yards then worked at West Lodge Farm Park as a shop assistant to get some non-horsey experience! I then graduated Brooksby with a 2:1 and actually went into something completely unrelated to horses.... insurance with the NFU Mutual!

I started as a Customer Service advisor and worked my way up the ladder to be Commercial Account Manager within 2 years. In 2021 I relocated to Dorset to work for the supplement company Hilton Herbs (more related to horses!) in Customer Service and in the time, I have been here I have moved up to be UK Trade Sales and Business Development. Who knows what will be next!


How did your studies at SMB College Group contribute to where you are today?

Brooksby brought out my self-confidence, taught me to be good with deadlines and time management. It also gave me that all important degree that employers look for which I don't believe I would have achieved if I had studied any other subject anywhere else!


Do you have any advice for to people interested in studying at the College?

Make sure you ask the lunch ladies to put the cheese on first when having chips with cheese and beans in the canteen (then the cheese melts!) and the best canteen on campus is the one at the Equestrian Centre as it is usually quieter!


Any advice for people aiming to follow a career / education pathway like yours?

Take every opportunity you can, whether that is being on the college team or something bigger like moving away from home. Then you won’t think 'what if'.


If you share Irralie’s passion for horses - there’s still time to apply for Level 3 Equine Management at SMB College Group this September!


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