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Hannah Mee's Final Blog

Hannah Mee (3rd from right) Graduation Day

Hannah Mee (3rd from right) Graduation Day
June blog

Hello all from Ireland. Sadly all good things most come to an end.

During the month of June, we visited a number of trainers to have a look around their properties and to get more of an insight into the way they train. One of the first places we visited was Jim Bolger's racing stable called Coolcullen and the spelling farm called Bechy Park, which I can honestly say was such an honour and pleasure to see. Both properties of were beautiful and amazingly set up for horses. We were given a tour of both the properties and shown the grass gallops and the stable area at Beaches Park (spelling farm) which is where Mr Bolger brings horses down once a week to train. We then travelled to his racing yard which was breath taking, set up on a hill and overlooking the valley. He had a roughly 150 boxes with 3 gallops, walkers, and three spas all located on the property. The uphill gallops included a grass, sand and wood chip for horses to work on. As a class, we were also given the opportunity to ask him any questions about the business or industry. I would have to say it was one of the highlights of the course.

During the month we also went to Dick Barbazon's yard on the edge of the Curragh, he gave us a quick look around and also spoke to us about his experience as a trainer and what he has learnt in the process. We also went to the Curragh training grounds where we were given a look around and saw strings of horses work up the 'Old Vic' which is a wood chip straight gallop.

One of the lectures this month was given to us by Harry Sweeney of Pac Pac farm in Japan. Mr Sweeney talked about the industry, racing and how different it is over in Japan which was very interesting. He explained that it can get very cold over the winter months and that he will keeps the horses outside during the winter as he believes [h1] it is what makes the horses stronger and better developed. He also spoke to us about how much money is put into the prize money in Japan. For example, the trainer will get $3,000 just for bringing a horse to the races. Harry also talked about sales, foals that are sold in Japan will go through the sale ring with the mare and are not weaned until after the sale. I would love to spend some time in Japan in the future.

Some of the other trips we also went on this month were to Ballylinch Stud, Coolmore Stud and a more in-depth look around Kildangan Stud. All three are beautiful properties to look around, with some lovely horses and stallions. At Ballylinch we looked at a few mares and foals, their lab area, we also looked at their boys Dream Ahead, Lope De Vege, Intense Focus, Make Believe, Lawman and Beat Hollow, all of the stallions were lovely looking animals but my favourites would have had to be Dream Ahead and Lope De Vega due to their strong build and presence. We then travelled to Kildangan Stud for a better look around the farm, we were shown their breaking in area, foaling unit, some of their other barns and the composing area. At Kildangan they make their own fertiliser from all the mucking out that is done on the farm. It would take 8 weeks to break it all down until it is small enough to be spread onto the paddocks. This was great to see as they have cut costs by doing this but is also a very natural way of fertilising their farm and its chemical free.

Then we went to Coolmore Stud and their training operation and also to Ballydoyal to see the stallions. Some of the boys we saw were Galileo, Australia, Fastnet Rock.

This month we also went up to the local vet clinic, Troy Town Equine Hospital. As a class we had a look around their facilities, we were shown two different types of castrations. One was a surgical one where the horse was a rig. Although I have seen many castrations I have never seen a rig been done and I was amazed as to how small the rigged tactical was compared to the normal one. We then saw one being done out in the field before we went on to see the bone scanning machine and the M.R.I as well.

During the build up to the end of the course we had two exams which we had to complete, one was a vetting based exam which was a collaboration of all the vet lectures we had over the course, some questions were challenging, but I feel I did well in that. The other exam was an industry based exam with all sorts of questions from breeding, jockeys, trainers and vet questions and general knowledge of the farm as well, it was probably the hardest one to do as it was a variety of questions to answer.

Once I had these exams done it started to sink in that my time here was coming to an end with these 25 other amazing people I have worked and lived with and I would consider each and every one of them family. It had come time for all of us to graduate on Friday and it was bitter sweet and I was so happy to be there knowing that I had done my best through the season. The six students that got the awards deserved them and I was delighted for each and every one of them as each one of them worked incredibly hard. The graduation was well put together and was the perfect day, it was lovely to see everyone's family and friends that came for the occasion, I was lucky enough to have my younger sister Pippi arrive the day before to come and support me. The graduation had marked the end of our time on the course and all of us were going to move on to our jobs we have lined up for ourselves. Some of the students are going to Australia, others are doing yearling prep here, some are going to work for trainers and others are going to Japan for the sales. Each and every one of us has an exciting job and career to look forward to now the course is over.

I am returning home to work at Trelawney Stud in Cambridge and I am highly looking forward to it, with new challenges to look forward to. All of this would not have been possible without the help of many people that I have come across along the way including friends and family that have been some of my biggest supporters. Cambridge Stud has played a huge role in my drive and passion for this industry, The Irish National Stud's staff, yard team and lecturers that I have worked with over the last six months have deepened my knowledge of the thoroughbred industry, The New Zealand Thoroughbred Association, Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship, Nicola Griffiths, Michael Martin, Brent Taylor and Trelawney Stud all of whom have given me this wonderful opportunity and it is one I am so thankful for.

This will not be the last you hear from me as I hope to make my mark on the industry and I can only wait and see what the future holds and I am very excited for that ~ Hannah Mee