When David Morris moved to the Waikato in 2015, it was with a rugby career in mind, but then he discovered horses.
Now with a Bachelor of Business Management under his belt, he is the proud winner of the NZTBA Sunline Education Trust International Management Scholarship and 2018 will see him working at three world acclaimed international stud operations for three months at a time.
According to Morris it’s like a dream job, “I have always wanted to travel and it gives me the opportunity to travel and work with horses as well.
“I am pretty excited, I can’t wait to travel and learn heaps and see how they do things in the US and UK,” enthused the 22-year-old who will be working at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, Cheveley Park in England and Coolmore Stud in Ireland.
“I grew up in Australia where my father is in business and he and Mum were adamant I should get a degree of some sort when I finished school, I didn’t really have a career goal,” he explained.
“I come to Waikato originally to play rugby and study part-time, but my career in rugby fell by the wayside and I once I discovered horses my whole focus changed.
“None of my family know what horses are, and I needed a job during the uni holidays and went out to Windsor Park to help with a yearling prep and I loved it. So I went back the next year, the team at Windsor Park knew I was passionate and they taught me and helped me so much.
“Since I was awarded the scholarship my parents have taken a little more notice of what I am doing and the industry itself to get a better idea, and they think it’s the best thing ever.”
Morris is currently working for Mark Forbes of Kiltannon Stables, in the mornings and helping with the Ready To Run team. As well he works on the yearling team at Cambridge Stud, where the yearling manager is Lance Forbes who recently returned from having completed his scholarship.
”My yearling manager at Cambridge Stud is Lance Forbes and he said it was the best time of his life and if I wanted a career in the industry I should apply for the scholarship and it would give me the leg up I needed to get ahead in the industry.
“I am sure I definitely want to stay in New Zealand and work, and I am passionate about both the training and breeding side of the industry so I am sure the scholarship will open up plenty of opportunities for me going forward. During the time away I want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, learning how other people do things over there.”
The Sunline International Management Scholarship was developed in 2002 by the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA, and later was taken over by the Sunline Education Trust. The Scholarship aims to identify existing and potential managers within the New Zealand thoroughbred industry, offering them an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and experience, and highlight the diverse career options available within the international bloodstock business.
Past winners of the scholarship have gone on to forge very successful careers in the industry both here and internationally including Michael Wallace of Waterford Bloodstock, Shannon Taylor the sales and marketing manager at Haunui Farm, Libby Bleakley the proprietor of Highden Park, Bruce Slade and Mark Lindsay on the team at Newgate Farm, along with successful Te Akau Racing trainer Jamie Richards.
An expansion in the age band of students eligible for the Irish National Stud study programme has given Danielle Southey a second chance at an opportunity of a lifetime.
Last year she applied for the Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship to the Irish National Stud as part of the NZTBA’S Sunline Education Trust Scholarship programme, and was quite disappointed when she was unsuccessful, however this year the age band was expanded and she once again became eligible.
“It was a bit of a shock when I found out that I could get a second chance to go again because the age band has been extended to 25, I thought I was too old to apply,” enthused a delighted Southey.
“It’s a great opportunity, an opportunity of a life time and I am told it will be the best six months of my life.
“I heard about it from my work mates at Trelawney, they all rave about what a wonderful opportunity it was to attend the course, and it’s perfect that I come back to work where I started out from.”
Southey will travel to Ireland in January to take part in the Thoroughbred Breeding Diploma course at the Irish National Stud. The NZTBA has been selecting candidates for this course with excellent results for over 20 years and since 2006 it has been generously funded by the Taylor family of Trelawney Stud. Part of the scholarship also includes a six month internship at Trelawney Stud on return.
She is currently employed at Trelawney Stud, and initially applied for the course last year after being encouraged by former winners working at the stud. When she missed out she put it behind her and was delighted when the Taylors organised a placement for her at Stanley Park Stud in England for four months earlier this year.
“I have been getting tips from Cameron (Ring) who has been working here since he completed the course earlier this year, and Hannah (Mee) who went the year before is a good friend of mine, they have been giving me the heads up and I am looking forward to going back over there, and seeing how they do things in Ireland,” she said.
“It’s completely different to how they do things here in the southern hemisphere. I was lucky enough to attend some lectures at the English National stud and learnt so much, and I am really looking forward to expanding my knowledge at the Irish National stud lectures.
Southey maintains she was born into horses, and into a family that is keen on racing. She had her first pony at aged eight, and first started working experience in stables while still at school.
“My uncle is a trainer in Mornington, and he got me my first job,” said Southey who has also worked in racing stables, “and from there everyone suggested that if I was serious about a career with horses that I should get a job in the breeding industry. I did that and I haven’t looked back, I have learnt so much since I have been around thoroughbreds.”
“I wouldn’t want to work in any other industry. It has helped having a family that fully supports me as well, and now I have been given this opportunity and can’t wait to go.”
The Irish National Stud course is a five month course commencing in late January and features both practical and academic units covering everything from business studies, to animal welfare and pasture management. Students who successfully complete the course are awarded a diploma which is recognised throughout the thoroughbred world. - Michelle Saba