Dubai: The American University in the Emirates (AUE) are gearing up to become the first institution of its kind in the region to graduate students in equine sports and in particular horse racing.
Equine sport in general offers exciting career opportunities and the AUE aims to offer specialised courses that encompass racecourse management, nutrition, animal science and veterinary medicine, accounting and economics that will provide students with the skills and background necessary to find employment in the industry.
Prof. Muthanna G. Abdulrazzaq, CEO and President of the AUE explained: “You need to prepare just as critically for a career in the equine industry as you would for any other business.
“Horse racing and related sports offer even more choice than ever before because of the investment that the Rulers of Dubai have made in the sport. We are in the process of designing undergraduate courses that will provide students with the technical knowledge and practical experience that will qualify them for positions they seek in the industry.
“We are looking at degree s that cover all aspects - be it stable management, horse breeding, horse care, cost accounting and beyond that will sharpen the student’s skills and prepare them for a career in the sport,” he added.
One of the most popular and sought-after equine programs is the Darley Flying Start which has produced over 100 graduates that are currently employed in the horse industry internationally.
The two-year program combines course instruction, visiting lectures, hands-on experience, and tons of networking opportunities to its trainees, and graduates.
Prof. Muthanna revealed that like the influential Darley initiative, the AUE’s equine college, which will be named Al Adiyat, after the word from the Qur’an meaning horse, will be designed to proved students with a comprehensive knowledge in the various aspectrs of racing.
“The study is ready and we have sent a proposal to the Minister of Higher Education and have been in talks with officials in the Emirates Equestrian Federation,” he said.
“We highly appreciate that Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, is supporting this idea and has urged us to make it a reality.
“We are waiting to meet with His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of Shaikh Hamdan’s office, Meydan Racecourse, Jebel Ali Racecourse and Al Qudra to further discuss this initiative, which we are very excited about here at AUE,” he added.
“It’s important to talk to the people in the horse industry because they are the hiring bodies. The courses that we will offer will be based on their requirements. We want to equip students with the right skills that they will need to find the best possible positions in the field of equine sport.”
Prof Muthanna is optimistic that the Al Adiyat College will offer its first set of course by September 2017.
“We want to work closely with professionals in the horse industry through a work experience that will help our students to gain the hands-on experience they will need to enhance their classroom studies,” he said. “We will try to bridge the gap between theory and practical experience.”
The AUE’s proposed equine college will offer several sets of courses culminating in a diploma, bachelor’s or master degree and even a PhD with an equine emphasis.
2-Year & 4-Year Programme
“The two year semester curriculum which will offer a diploma will be a new initiative,” Prof. Muthanna said. “A student can study for two years, go out and work in the industry and return to complete the two years for a bachelor’s degree. They can also continue for a Masters degree or a PhD.”
On the American University in the Emirates campus at Academic City, students will learn valuable skills and theory from qualified faculty members and will have the opportunity to sharpen their proficiency by practical training at stables, racecourses and management offices to understand the commitment involved in such a programme.
Al Adiyat College will aim to graduate students with a deep knowledge of equine sport and softer skills,” said Prof. Muthanna. “But mostly we want to graduate students in creative critical thinking.”