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Dylan's Blog – April 2015

Sand and fibre up hill gallop at Con Marnane’s
Sand and fibre up hill gallop at Con Marnane’s

Spring Has Come

The temperature has finally crept up to the double digits and even touched over the 20's in the past couple of day's bring smiles and even more enthusiasm into the yards as we finally strip of the five or so layers of winter clothing and change into t-shirts. The sun is definitely a mood booster for everyone as we are now in full swing with paddocks overflowing with sprightly newborn foals and the amount of covers rising by the day.

The combination of foals in the sun tends to go hand in hand with tourists; the numbers of families, couples, tour groups and people alike have increased dramatically visiting the stud. Kildare showing to be one of the most popular yards when it's time for the mares and foals to come in for the night. It's amazing to see how the foals quickly adapt and become comfortable with the sizable crowds surrounding them taking photos and wishing to give them a pat. It's also great to see the respect and space they all give you when bringing in and taking out horses.

By now everyone has pretty much experienced every yard, along with the opportunity to work in the office and go on night watch. I have recently just come off foal watch experiencing four foaling's over three nights, this was a great experience as it was not something I have done much of before and it gave me plenty of understanding to the routine of a common foaling. Having to stay up until the sunrise checking the stabled mares every half hour gave me plenty of time to pick the brain of the foaling supervisors watching over me on the different problems that could occur and how they would handle the situation, I even got to experience first hand a red bag foaling, I'm thankful to say that there was no problems and the foal is fine and healthy. It just goes to show that anything can happen in any aspect of this industry and the more knowledge and experience the better.

We were lucky enough to take a field trip to Bansha House Stables run by Con Marnane, he mostly pin hooks breeze up horse and is successfully racing a few in France.. This was one of the trips that I was most looking forward to as prepping ready to runners hits home with me being something that I am largely involved in with my mother and father back home. Con's set up was outstanding and incredibly well organised. He seemed to have it all with a straight gallop to an oval he pace works them on, a equine pool, treadmill, and walker. He was very welcoming from the start, greeting us all and giving us a quick break down before giving us the opportunity to see how he does his job.

At the moment he had 90 in work with most of them going to breeze up sales and a few in training preparing for France. They would ride out in groups of 7 with Con instructing each rider what amount of work he would like the horse to do. Some would also have a little extra work with a swim in the pool or a run along on the treadmill after. It constantly amazed me how well mannered all his two-year-olds were, acting more like a well broken 7-year-old stayer, it just showed how much time and effort he would put into his horses and it was good to see that time and effort paying off for him with 17 G1 horses going through his stables.

The Irish truly love their racing, whether it's flat, jumps or point-to-point it doesn't matter. But when it comes to race festivals the sheer atmosphere is ecstatic, I got my first experience of this through Cheltenham week. Most of us internationals were questioning all the hype they were giving it up to the festival but we now know what it is all about. There were plenty of highs and lows within the festival but I feel the one that I will never forget is when Annie Power fell on the last jump denying Ruby Welsh a Cheltenham first day grand slam. I think it would be a moment that no one will forget as it felt like it stopped the whole nation. To help get everyone in the mood and get the internationals more involved a fun betting scheme was set up between the students to see who had the best picks each day. At the end of it we were all a little surprised that the competition was not taken out by a Brit or Irish student but the American outsider!

Along with our usual lecturers we are normally lucky enough to have guest lecturers one or two days of the week. We've been extremely privileged to have visits from Chief Executive of Goffs, Henry Beeby, who gave us an insight on the behind the scences workings of the Goffs auction house along with the terms and conditions to entering a horse into one of their sales. Both Gerry Duffy and Joe Osborne from Kildangan giving us separate intriguing lectures on the importance of teamwork and team efficiency within a working environment and the in-depth look into valueing stallions, syndications' or valuing a service fee.

With the days passing by at what feels like the blink of an eye I feel that there is still so much more that I can take in from this place whether it be in the classroom, the yard or meeting new people and creating connections for the future. But on a final note I would like to say best wishes to friends and family alike at the Sydney Easter Sale, it is great to see such a strong start to the sale and hope to hear of it continuing through the rest of the sale.