Equine nutritionist Clare McCafferty joined Premier Nutrition in 2015, and since then has progressed from a cross-species support nutritionist, into the full time equine role. We find out more about Clare’s role and her ambitions for the future.
Q. How did you get into your current role?
A: I’m originally from Scotland and studied for a BSc (Hons) in Applied Animal Science at the SRUC in Ayr (formerly known as Auchincruive). After graduating, I applied for the position of support nutritionist at Premier. I got the job and took the plunge to relocate 300 miles from home and have never looked back.
As a support nutritionist, I gained a tremendous all round nutritional education but was encouraged to develop a species expertise, and mine was equine. I worked closely with our equine nutritionist, Ruth Bishop, shadowing her and learning on the job, gradually taking on more responsibility, before I was formally promoted to join Ruth as an equine nutritionist.
Q. What does your role as equine nutritionist involve?
A. My daily role is very varied but can include anything from the general management of customer accounts, answering their nutrition queries, advising on a myriad of regulations and quality standards, through to formulating feeds and premixes or attending conferences.
One of my favourite parts of the role is helping customers to develop bespoke supplements, right from the initial formulation through to packaging. It’s amazing to see products that I’ve played a part in developing on the shelf at my local saddlery shop.
Q. If you could pick one stand out moment in your career, what would it be?
A. For me it’s ongoing, rather than one particular moment, but I love the
occasional chance we get to work directly with riders and trainers.
We support a number of junior riders and advise them on appropriate nutrition for their competition horses and ponies. Seeing the young riders that I’ve supported move up the levels and win competitions is extremely rewarding.
Q. Have you taken part in any formal training during your time at Premier Nutrition?
A. Yes. Other than day to day learning on the job, I took a training course to become a qualified AMTRA SQP (Suitably Qualified Person), which allows me to legally prescribe and advise on products, such as vaccines and wormers, for a wide range of species.
This was particularly important for my support nutritionist work, as I often had to formulate medicated feeds for pigs or poultry. While the qualification is less important in my current role, I still regularly use the information learned on the course. My dissertation was in equine parasitology, so I have a strong interest in the topic.
Premier Nutrition is also very good at investing in us generally, I have been on at least 20 courses in my time in the business – from health and safety to sales training, presentation skills, and as well as various industry led training courses on labelling and BETA NOPS.
Q. What are your ambitions for your future at Premier Nutrition?
A. I want to be the best nutritionist I can be. I hope to absorb as much information as I possibly can, but also learn from what other species teams in the company are doing. I’m in an exciting position where I can influence the business and be at the forefront of innovation, with lots of equine developments in the pipeline for the business.