Danielle Southey Irish National Stud Scholarship Recipient
This is Danielle’s first blog from The Irish National Stud
There are 26 students with diverse backgrounds from Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Germany, USA, China, Japan, Australia and myself representing NZ on this year’s Irish National Stud course. We are doing weekly placements all over the stud so we are now into our third week.
First week I was in the Black Cherry/Kildare Yard where we only had a few mares as the northern hemisphere stud season is only just getting under way. Things are done quite differently here compared to the way we do them in New Zealand. Foals get head collars on and are handled from day one learning to lead and follow their mothers (unlike New Zealand where they just run loose following their mothers).
Lectures have come into full swing with one every afternoon after we have finished work. We have had a few guest lecturers including Henry Beeby, Joey Cullen, Kevin Blake and many more.
My second week was spent in Maddenstown this is where all the maiden and barren mares are located. This is very busy as there are a lot of mares. During my time in Maddenstown we also got our second assignment which involved either selecting a yearling to pin hook or a mare to add to our broodmare brand. I have chosen a mare and I have thoroughly enjoyed researching her pedigree, going and actually looking at the mare as if I was buying her, there were other mares that I inspected and considered before I picked my mare. This assignment really opened my eyes and I found it very interesting. I’m definitely going to carry on learning more about the pedigrees as I go along.
My third week was in Strawhall where all the foaling mares are and this is where the foaling unit is located for this season. We have a lot of mares coming in to foal from both the farm and a few outside mares as well. We now have had quite a few foals on the ground. We all got a day where we had to be on foal watch during the daytime and cycled around the paddocks checking on the mares every 20mins to make sure that they are nice and quiet and not looking like they were about to foal or that they are foaling. If they looked like they were about to foal or were foaling we called either Gerry or Joey depending on who’s on duty that day. The mares are brought into a stable to foal safely. There is a bonus to whoever finds a mare that is just about to foal or is foaling and then brings them into the stable gets a €100. Sadly, on my day no mares decided to foal.
I have also completed 3 nights foal watching over a weekend and we were delighted to get 5 lovely strong foals. Foaling in a stable is certainly different than foaling outside but I can see how it works especially in the cold nights that we have been having here.
My final week for this month I was in a few small yards. Minoru and Murphy’s, we only have a few mares there that are going to foal but later in the season. Blandford is where we have some mares and foals. It is interesting working with the mares and foals and taking them through the stocks (crush) and then out to the paddock. The foals get really well handled learning to lead with their mothers at such a young age is great.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being at the Irish National Stud so far working and studying. Learning different ways of handing horses and doing things round the stud. The staff here are excellent always willing to help us and answer any questions that we have about different things. It is defiantly interesting living with other people of similar age and we are all learning together and learning about the different places we all come from. We are becoming like one big happy family. We have a lot of people to make sure we have enough food and that everything is going smoothly round the house and at work. The course is very hands-on and even though we work hard and are challenged with lectures, study etc, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring, hopefully it will get warmer its been a bit chilly here I think its only been a high of like 15.
Until next time