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Danielle Southey reflects on her Irish National Stud experience

Danielle pictured after her Irish National Stud graduation

Danielle pictured after her Irish National Stud graduation

After six months in Ireland Danielle Southey is happy to be back in New Zealand and back at work at Trelawney Stud.

”I missed home, I missed cooking for myself and driving myself,” said the bubbly young woman earlier this week.

“I had my first day back at Trelawney Stud, it was great catching up with the mares I foaled last spring and seeing their babies that are nearly yearlings, hopefully I won’t be going anywhere for a while.”

Southey was the recipient of the Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship to the Irish National Stud to complete a Thoroughbred Breeding Diploma as part of the NZTBA’S Sunline Education Trust Scholarship programme.

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.

“It was amazing from the time we arrived in January, getting to know everyone there were 27 on the course from all over the place, and after living together for six months, you are pretty much like family,” she enthused.

“The staff at the Irish National stud are amazing, they are so helpful, and keen to pass on their knowledge they are so helpful and if they don’t know the answer they will find it out and get back to you.

“Ireland reminded me of home a bit, but it was like New Zealand in the winter the whole time, we hardly saw the sun shine the novelty of working in the snow wore off after two days.”

That’s a bit of a change for the young woman brought up in Hawkes Bay, who maintains she was literally born into horses, and into a family that is keen on racing. She had her first pony at aged eight, and first started work experience in stables while still at school. She has subsequently worked at Brighthill Farm and Trelawney Stud, in the Waikato.

“The highlight for me was definitely graduating from the course and getting that certificate with diploma on it. I was so nervous going into the exams we worked hard studying for the vet papers, but the general paper was a surprise to everyone,” she recalled.

”Besides graduating working with a stallion was a big highlight. In New Zealand on the farms I had worked on I had not had anything to do with the stallions, but there everyone had to share the workload with them. It was a completely different side of stud work and I didn’t know anything about it so it was really interesting.  The stallions were lovely.

“Besides all the stud work we got involved in a wide range of activities associated with bloodstock like sales, and races.

“Racing was completely different over there, and such a big part of life in Ireland, while Royal Ascot was on we didn’t work in the afternoons, it was compulsory to watch it on television. It was great fun and we had our own betting sweeps going,

“I have definitely made friends for life, more than half the people from the course are heading to Australia and although they don’t realise or understand the difference between Australia and New Zealand and I think they think they are one place, we will all be keeping in touch, and building a good network.

“I can’t wait to hear how they cope foaling mares outside, that’s something that isn’t done in the Northern Hemisphere.”

The NZTBA has been sending students to the Irish National Stud for this course for over 20 years, initially as an initiative of the Wellington Branch but more recently with the support of the Taylor family and Trelawney Stud. The successful student is indentured to Trelawney Stud for six months following their return from Ireland.

More information on this scholarship and the International Management Scholarship also run by the NZTBA is available on our website. - Michelle Saba


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