Student Blog from Alice Wilkinson (New Zealand) & Tadhg McGuinness (Ireland)


As the course is nearing the end, everyone has their heads down studying trying to revise over the notes we have collected from our industry leading lecturers for the final exams. It is sad seeing the end of the course approaching as we have all grown so close together and I have formed so many bonds with my fellow students. This week we had Leo Powell as a guest lecturer talking to us about ‘Blue Hens’. To be classed as a Blue Hen, the mare must have produced four or more G.1 winners on the flat. Becoming a blue hen is not an easy feat and has only been achieved by 10 mares to date. After this lecture we have all been given the opportunity to write a 500 word article on one of four topics provided. The best contribution will win the Blue Hen award at our graduation and will be published in The Irish Field.


This week I was placed in Maddenstown, this is the Irish National Stud’s barren and maiden mare yard. The day to day here includes checking and feeding the mares that live outside full time because the weather now permits, scanning the mares that are still looking for cover or have been covered and making sure they are hitting all their milestones in terms of carrying their foal. Now that the season is ending there is less work to do with the horses so it is time to start cleaning up the yards and doing maintenance work after the long and strenuous season it has endured. We have been doing things like power washing, strimming, and painting barns and gates.



This week on the Irish national stud I was working in the Kildare yard, All the rota vaccinated mares and foals come here after they leave the foaling unit if they are boarding with us here in the stud. Every morning consists of vetting and treating several mares and scanning them to see if they are in foal or inspecting their ovaries to see if they are ready to be covered by the stallion again. All 30 mares and all 30 foals must be fed every morning and evening but thankfully as the weather is starting to pick up, they are now all living happily in the field full time bar the young foals that have only just been born. I really like this yard because I really enjoy watching all the foals that I have foaled in the past growing up and doing so well.


We also had Leo Powell from the Irish field in with us this week as a guest lecturer and we had a great chat about pedigrees of horses, racing and the blue hen competition that the Irish field run for us every year, all students are given a topic to write an article about a blue hen mare and the best article is posted in the Irish field.


Unfortunately, we are now entering our final month of the course, I think the course has been fantastic and I have enjoyed every moment of it, and it has really exceeded my expectations. I have learnt a lot of things I had never done before like foaling mares and working with stallions. I have also made friends for Life and built up an array of contacts within the racing world.



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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland

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