Kathryn Jaquet is the managing director of a large, family-owned retail equestrian store in Buckinghamshire. Although it might have been a slightly different inspiration than most to become an AMTRA SQP, Kathryn was named as the top E-SQP student of the year (equine and companion animal) at the AMTRA awards during the AHDA Conference 2019.
I’m managing director of RB Equestrian Ltd, a large family-owned and run retail store based in Buckinghamshire, near Milton Keynes. We had three AMTRA SQPs on our staff, but when one left to work elsewhere, it seemed sensible for me to try and qualify as an SQP to make up the numbers! Although at the time the inspiration was purely commercial, now that I’ve done it, I’m really pleased I have. From a personal point of view, I’ve found it really interesting.
What I would say is, that having not done any exams for almost 20 years, the whole process was a real challenge. Getting back into revision was tough and I’d forgotten how challenging exam conditions can be – but I actually enjoyed the process, even though it was hard work at the time. It was very satisfying learning about something new.
Before I joined the ‘family firm’ I was working as a solicitor in London so that was my first professional qualification. The one I tell most people about though, is that I’m a qualified fork lift truck driver! If you don’t work in this industry, then you probably won’t believe it’s a qualification I’d be likely to have!
When you’re running a small business, you do a bit of everything. Probably like most people in a similar situation, you feel that you’re always busy, but you’re not sure you’re ever getting anywhere!
My days are so varied it’s difficult to describe a typical one, but yesterday I…
The most important aspect of being an SQP is educating people, without belittling them or disregarding the realities of their situation. An example might be when a yard owner has told a livery that they ‘must’ worm with a particular product, and they’re effectively scared to do otherwise despite your recommendations. You need to be diplomatic… It would be great if consumers understood that we are prescribing, not just selling. Very few realise that it’s not as simple as coming to the counter, asking for a specific product, and us handing it over.
I’m not sure being an AMTRA SQP will necessarily help my career, as I hope I’ll be doing what I’m doing for a very long time – but I hope it will be beneficial for the business overall. I think being recognised as a trusted brand for support and advice is increasingly important in a very price conscious world.
Kathryn Jaquet is managing director of RB Equestrian Ltd near Milton Keynes.