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Hannah's Blog - January 2016

On the 17 th of January I set off on a new adventure to Ireland where I was lucky enough to be attending the 2016 Irish National Stud course. I was eager to get started and was excited about seeing the stud and who I would be living and working with over the six month course. I was excited about learning all aspects of the thoroughbred industry in more detail and the different ways the northern hemisphere conduct their breeding season.

On the 18 th of January I arrived in Dublin where I was greeted by one of last year's students who is working on the farm this season. We talked about what he thought of the course, what he enjoyed the most and what the new students would be doing this year on the course.

When I first arrived at the farm I thought it was a beautiful place. I introduced myself to the few students who had already arrived. There are 26 students on the course this year. Fourteen boys, and twelve girls. The students all come from seven different countries such as: Ireland, United States of America, Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Great Britain.

The first week was very relaxed. We spent the time doing a lot of introductory things around the farm. It allowed us to learn how the farm operated and what would be expected of us in the upcoming weeks. We also spent a lot of time in lectures. My favourite lecture so far was a lecture about the foaling process.

On the first weekend of the course all the local studs opened their doors to let people view the stallions, this was called the 'stallion trail'. As a class we visited Darley Stud where we saw their new season sires, French Navy, Shooting To Win and others of the likes of Shamardal and Exceed and Excel. We also went to Rathasker Stud where Bungle Inthejungle and Clodovil stand. Then we finished the stud visits with Yeomanstown Stud where Dark Angel and Camacho stand.
Dawn Approach at Darley (now Godolphin)
Dawn Approach at Darley (now Godolphin)

The following week we started work in the yards. I started my rotations in the stallion yard. I was very nervous at first because I had never worked with stallions before. I quickly formed a relationship with two of the stallions I was most comfortable with, Big Bad Bob and Worthadd. The majority of the time in the stallion unit was spent getting the covering shed ready because the breeding season has not yet started. We cleaned it and made sure it was stocked with necessary supplies that would be needed when the breeding season starts.

Following working with the stallions, the next week was a complete change of pace. I was assigned to office duties. I spend my time in the office organizing mare contracts which are due to be bred to the Stud stallions. I also put data into the computer ranging from vet reports to teasing reports. It has been an amazing time so far and I cannot wait to see what is in store for me over the next six months and to gain more experience as I go along. This would not have been possible without the help of the Taylor family, Michael Martin, Nicola Griffiths at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association for giving me this wonderful opportunity and to all the people that helped me get to where I am, so thank you for that.

Hannah Mee