5th Apr 2022
We were told the stories of those students before us, saw the pictures of the beautiful Irish landscape, but as we arrived as the incoming class of the Irish National Stud Course, we came in wanting to know one thing, what makes the Irish National Stud such a special place? For many of us, it’s the newborn foals roaming the grounds each and every day. For others it’s the first season stallions kicking off their legacies in the covering shed. However for those of us in the Kildare Yard this past weekend, it was the bond between human and equine that shined through in the eye of the beholder.
With a beautiful aurora of sunshine roaming the grounds and feed time calling for the horses, we ventured down towards the far paddock to bring in the Living Legends. Although we as students know how special these former athletes were during their days on the track, it’s the spark they create for the patrons who would love nothing more than to say hello and grab a quick photo with these former champions. From adults who fell in love with racing through the likes of Hurricane Fly & Hardy Eustace to the young girl who wanted nothing more than to pet Conan the teaser, you can see just how much these small interactions mean to the people who have travelled far and wide to visit the Irish National Stud. To be a part of those moments for people was extremely rewarding, even if it meant a quick photo or two for an eager 5-time Irish Champion Hurdle winner who was ready to eat his dinner!
Another exciting part of our week was a day trip to leading breeze-up consignor Con Marnane’s Bansha House Stables. Unfortunately a bit of wet weather limited the number of horses out during our visit, however the staff did everything they could to give us a high quality experience in showing us the ins and outs of their incredible operation in Co. Tipperary. From seeing their amazing facilities to watching several horses galloping on the treadmill, we were given an in-depth viewing as to what goes into producing these top priced 2 year old Breezers in sales across the globe. A special thank you to the Marnane family for their hospitality during our visit.
We were lucky to welcome guest lecturer Alan Creighton, head of environment at the Irish Equine Centre, to come in and give the class a lesson on biosecurity within the industry to make the working environment safest they can be from different diseases for both the horses and workers, which the class as a whole found very interesting and informative.
As we finish up another week here at the Irish National Stud, the buzz of the Cheltenham Festival is humming through the air. For many of the international students here on the course, we are experiencing our first Cheltenham in Europe. Whether it’s the heart of the breeding season or one of the top racing festivals in the world, it’s a good time to be in Ireland. Until next week, Happy Cheltenham!