Orla qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin (UCD) before completing a Masters Degree in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at Edinburgh University. Orla completed a PhD at the University of Limerick in 2016 studying the pressures applied by commonly used tack, in particular the noseband, and received a Diploma in Equitation Science in 2017. Orla is currently associate lecturer at UCD and guest lecturer at the University of Limerick, lecturing on behaviour, welfare and behaviour problems. Orla runs a veterinary referral behaviour clinic treating problem behaviours in horses, dogs and cats. Orla organizes lectures, workshops and clinics on equine learning and training and treatment of behaviour problems for owners and riders in Ireland, and continues research into tack usage and consequences for the health and welfare of the horse. Orla competed in affiliated showjumping, dressage and eventing and continues to ride when time permits.