Plenty has been happening in May.
It's scary to think, five months have already whizzed by. Before we know it, our 2021 class will be graduating and on our way to achieving greatness across the globe. There have been many amazing experiences within the course and I have learnt many lessons to bring back to utilise in the New Zealand breeding season.
We've been chipping away into the backend of the breeding season, although it's like two seasons merge into one. As the National Hunt mares cycle later on in the year and are currently going through their transitional phase- around April and into May. Lectures have been running to schedule with many more guest lecturers and a class trip down to Tipperary to visit one of the largest breeze up yards in Ireland in Bansha House Stabkes and the biggest stud farm inCoolmore.
Weekly placements for the month include working at Kildare Yard, Sun Chariot and excitingly I'm on stallions this week. Kildare is busy with mares and foals in the yard, including teasing and vetting still proceeding towards trying to get mares covered that haven't been covered yet. It's their last time of the season to get in foal before it ends.
The young mares and foals are boxed every night and are brought back in during the afternoon, after being let out in the morning. There are many different methods of handling foals compared to systems in New Zealand. For example; foals have their head collars on every day and you walk the mares and foals side by side, leading the foal by its headcollar. This teaches them to walk next to a person from a young age while not developing bad habits when they are young.
Sun Chariot is starting to come to an end for another busy year. There have been over 300 mares foaled thus far and they are down to their last couple of mares to foal. The stallions are ticking along nicely still, with plenty of coverings happening during the day before the season comes to a close.
The boys are ticking along nicely and are looking good and are starting to enjoy their days out in their paddocks with the sun on their backs.
Guest lectures this month have included Jack Cantillon (Syndicates Ireland) Leo Powell (The Irish Field) Luke Livingston (Bloodstock Agent) and Gary O’Gorman (Senior Irish Flat Handicapper). We have also had lectures from the Irish National Stud’s very own Cathle Beale Gary Swift Patrick Diamond and Anne Channon.
We have been fortunate enough to explore some of the countryside including a visit to Bansha House Stables, owned and operated by Con Marnane. Breeze up sales are extremely popular in Europe and are a great way for vendors to have multiple options to sell their stock. A total of seven different sales in England, Ireland and France have been targeted by Bansha to sell their horses which are placed in the sale, best suited to the horses, in terms of ability and pedigree.
The property itself is located in the beautiful County Tipperary which is well capitalised with the required facilities to turn out well trained 2yo's. They have their own seven furlong (1400m) uphill gallop which is placed elegantly in front of a picturesque mountain range which reminds me of the Kaimai Range back at home, in Matamata.
They also have an equine swimming pool, treadmill and water walker as well as a 700m sand track. We toured around the property with Con whilst the operation was in full swing. It became pretty evident that the man is a very laid back, but also an assertive boss who was able to juggle a tour group as well as manage all the horses being exercised around him.
After all the work was done, we were kindly invited back to the main homestead for a delightful lunch where we met the rest of the family - Con's daughter, Amy, was a graduate of the course in 2016. She is now heavily involved within the family business which I'm sure Con is very pleased about. Con’s other daughter Oliva is on the course this year and she also is involved in the family business.
I would personally like to thank the Marnane family for having us out for the day to their lovely property and wish them all the best with their upcoming sales. I'm sure they'll be a huge success as the horses looked in tip-top condition and ready to go.
We were also lucky enough to head off to Coolmore in Tipperary for a day. We were welcomed and shown around by another former student in Mark Byrne who did the course in 2015. We were lucky enough to visit the stallions and see all of them.
It's such an amazing, tidy set-up they have - it's quite unbelievable. All the stallions looked great there but there were some very excited people, as well as myself, to see the Derby winner and 12-time champion sire Galileo. At 23 years old he has sired 90 individual Group One winners, 36 of them being classic winners, he has sired horses such as Frankel, Teofilo, Magical Love and Circus Maximus- who will be making his way down to New Zealand this coming season to stand at Windsor Park.
Until next month,