Breeding Course

The first Thoroughbred Breeding course was held in the Irish National Stud in 1971 and it remains the best-known equine training programme to this day. The aim of the course is to educate young people for a career in the thoroughbred industry, and many graduates have been prominent in stud farms throughout the world, racehorse training, bloodstock sales, insurance and the media.

The six-month residential course which commences in January each year runs for the duration of the breeding season and the small group of students form friendships and professional contacts which are often maintained for a lifetime.

All students are accommodated in the student lodge on the farm with meals provided in our own canteen by professional staff.


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Unlike University based programmes, our training is mainly of a practical nature and is designed to provide students with a hands-on approach to every aspect of horse breeding.

The practical aspects of the breeding industry are demonstrated as students rotate around the yards on a weekly basis, gaining knowledge and skills from spending time in the stallion yard, foaling unit, yearling division and stud office. Students attend lectures given by the stud personnel and those involved in the bloodstock industry including vets, farriers, bloodstock agents, etc. and cover a variety of topics from yard management to business administration.



In the latter part of the course, visits are arranged to other stud farms, racing stables, sales companies, etc, and students are encouraged to interact with their personnel to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of each business area.

Students are expected to complete continuous assessments and both individual and group projects during the course and successful candidates receive the Irish National Stud certificate which is recognized throughout the bloodstock world.





Entry Requirements and Fees


All students are accommodated in the student lodge on the farm with meals provided in our own canteen by professional staff.



Fees include accommodation, meals, equipment, industry visits and tuition. For more information please contact [email protected]


English Language Proficiency:

Applications are invited from people over 18 years and previous practical experience is desirable. Applicants must have obtained an Irish Leaving Certificate or equivalent state examination, other Agricultural or Equestrian qualifications may be desirable.


Applicants for whom English is not their first language must include an IELTS result certificate (academic test) with their application. The required level for selection for the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is IELTS 5 which is described as follows:

‘Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express himself/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices’.

Click here for information on English proficiency.

Please e-mail for further details: [email protected]


An application form is available for download or can be obtained from the stud. Completed forms  should be submitted by October 1st 2022 and final selection takes place in November for the following January / February.


  • “I learned something new every single day during my time on the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course. Everything from foaling a mare to getting a mare pregnant - the whole process -which will stand to me in years to come when I build on my own breeding operation.”

    Jerry Horan, Class of 2016

  • “The opportunities presented during my time on the Thoroughbred Breeding Course were second to none – the educational and learning aspect, trips and visits to places such as Ballylinch Stud, Jim Bolger’s Glebe House Stables and Coolmore, and lectures from industry leaders involved in different aspects of this great sport are presented to you on a daily occurrence. Friendships and contacts are made that will last a lifetime and it is easy to see why the course is held in the highest regard within the industry.”

    Tom Evetts, Class of 2016

  • “Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Irish National Stud and learned a lot through practical work and during the lectures. The lectures were fantastic and relevant to the work we did each day in the yards.”

    Kate Curran, Class of 2016

  • “The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course was a fantastic and very enjoyable experience. The course gave me the opportunity to meet some of the industry’s biggest leaders along with making new friends for life. I learned a lot from Irish National Stud staff, vets and guest lectures. It is a well-structured and respected course that has given me a platform to continue working in the thoroughbred industry.”

    Basil Brindley, Class of 2016

  • The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course presented the biggest opportunity in my career to date. Working on a world-renowned Stud Farm of the highest quality on a daily basis, attending guest lectures from industry leaders, trips and visits to places such as Bansha House and Jim Bolger’s Glebe House were highlights. I made many connections and friends for life while studying on the course.
    I would highly recommend the course to anyone looking to further their knowledge of the Thoroughbred industry.

    Conor Hyland, Ireland, Class of 2020

  • The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is a once in a lifetime experience. It brings together people with all different backgrounds and experiences in an environment in which they can interact, and learn from each other.

    The breeding course provided me with numerous skills and knowledge that have helped me to start a career in the thoroughbred industry. During my time in Ireland I had the opportunity to visit prominent studs, attend countless racing events, and connect with many of the leaders in this industry. The relationships I made during this time are invaluable.

    Sarah Collings, Canada, Class of 2020

  • The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is a fantastic learning experience for anyone aspiring to succeed in the thoroughbred industry.
    The education and guidance received from both the staff and lecturers while on the course was second to none. Being able to put the theory from our lectures into practice at the yards was a very effective way of learning.
    Having the opportunity to live with like-minded people from a diverse range of backgrounds was a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening experience. I have no doubt that the friendships and contacts made in this process will benefit us all personally and professionally in the future.

    David Skelly, Ireland, Class of 2020

  • ‘I would recommend the course to anyone hoping to make a career in the breeding industry. The combination of lectures, yard work, and guest speakers along with farm and yard visits gives a wonderful overview of the breeding and racing industries. We got a great insight into the mechanics of a large stud farm with a good balance of theory and practical. Working and living with a group of like-minded people, I made some great friends on the course from all over the world which will no doubt benefit us going forward in our careers in the industry.’

    Nick Cope, Ireland, Class of 2019


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Student Blogs

Gain some insights into life as a student from another students perspective by reading our student blogs.


The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Alumni is a niche community of over twelve hundred people dispersed throughout the world who share a passion for the thoroughbred industry.  Many friendships and relationships were made during the past fifty years and we would like to foster and maintain the INS connection.

For further information please contact [email protected]


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