Student Blog from Brady Betlamini (Canada) & Kate Molony (Ireland)

Week 3


The past three weeks have been full of new introductions, tasks, and experiences. With the course nearly closing in on a full month, it feels like just a day ago I was unpacking my bags at the National Stud!  Time flies by when you’re working hard and having a brilliant time. Relationships and bonds continue to grow between students, instructors, and members of the equine industry. Coming into the program, I had apprehension as, I did not fully know what to expect. I can honestly say my expectations have been surpassed and I am eager to take what comes at me moving forward!

This week I was asked to attend and work the sales, for the first time, at the Goffs February Sale on behalf of The National Stud. A sale that consists of flat and national hunt horses of all ages and degrees. Not being the tallest person around, it is certainly benefitting me since coming into the thoroughbred industry. My course mates and co-workers have mentioned on multiple occasions, that due to my stature, I’m the right type for the sales!

Monday, close to noon, Ian Hyland, Luke Bleahen, and myself helped bring the yearlings to Goffs. It was very smooth sailing and consisted of great laughs, much thanks to top man Collin. Tuesday morning Ian, Luke and I eagerly set off to get to the barn to walk out horses and get everything prepared for the first day of selling. Unfortunately, due to poor weather and slight car issues, the three of us were not able make it Goffs and had to sit tight till Wednesday. Thankfully Gwen Browne was able to step up and pick up the slack for us!

Wednesday being a new day, the three us boys made Goffs without any further fault’s thanks again to Collin! National Stud employees/instructors Michelle, Stan, and Ciaran met us at Goffs and had us boys get busy straight away. The early morning consisted of hand walking the horses for a leg stretch and burn off some freshness, carry out normal stable duties, and tidy the yard for showing. The National Stud consigned 15 horses; 10 which were yearlings, and 5 were mares. Close to 10:00 AM agents and buyers began to stir around, and it was time to bring horses out to show. It was my first-time showing horses and standing them up correctly, and everyone was beyond helpful and patient. I couldn’t have asked for better people to be around. The day was educational, busy, and sincerely, a lot of fun!

After getting stuck in on the first sale day, I had a much better understanding of the routine and protocol for Thursday. With most of our yearlings being sold on Wednesday, we only had a couple yearlings left to sell and then we rolled into our mares. The studs feature horse at the sale was Princess Vega, a 9-year-old daughter of Quevega, was a supplementary entry and to be sold towards the end of the day. After discussion between Cathal Beale and the employees, they decided I would be the one to take Princess Vega through the sales ring. Only being my second day working the sales I knew this was an extraordinary opportunity! The strong looking mare and I marched around and as the bids began to rise so did my excitement. There is an unexplainable buzz when you’re on the end of a lead with a horse topping the sales. With the smack of the gavel, Gerry Hogan purchased Princess Vega for an impressive 150,000 Euro, I was shaking!

It has only been a short three weeks and the course is flying by and I have learned something new every day!  As I continue to participate in new experiences, make new friends and connections, I am keen to experience what Irish National Stud has to offer.



This week I was positioned in the Sun Chariot yard assisting Claire and Tina. This yard is the Stud’s main foaling unit, in which over 300 mares will foal across the 2024 breeding season. A typical morning begins by checking which mares are close to foaling by examining their bags to see if any are waxing or running milk. The mares are then turned out for the day, with the mares closest foaling put in woodchip paddocks. Each day one student is appointed to be on foal watch keeping a close eye on the mares whilst they are grazing in the fields, carrying out fifteen-minute checks. While the mares are out, their stables are shaken up or mucked out and bedded down. We then hay and feed and tidy up the yard. Any foaling boxes that have been used and vacated will be cleaned out, power hosed, disinfected, and re-bedded, ready for the next foaling.

In the morning we also check the foals that were born in recent days, spraying their navels, checking eyes and gums, taking their temperature, and ensuring they are nursing from the mare. Vets also come to attend to some of the mares in the yard to do scans and swabs and check the newly born foals. There was a foal born to a mare who was at high risk of being NI positive therefore the foal had to be bottle fed for the first few days after being born. I had not seen this before so was very interesting to learn about. My time in Sun Chariot this week was a great learning curve, working with pregnant mares and participating in the aftercare of newborn foals, an area in which I was lacking in experience.



The course has been a brilliant experience thus far, a whirlwind of meeting so many people from our course mates to industry experts on course tours and guest lecturers in the classroom. Already our time has been truly jam-packed with memorable experiences and opportunities from working in the different yards to site visits and this week was no exception. The Goffs February sale took place during the week and we as students were given the opportunity to attend one of the sale days, half attending on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. We each spent the day inspecting our shortlist of mares and fillies in preparation for our Goffs assignment in which we are tasked with selecting a broodmare prospect from the sale and detailing our plans going forward in the future. This was a great learning opportunity having to first rifle through the catalog, studying the pedigrees to create our shortlist for inspection and thereafter viewing each to inspect their confirmation to make our final choice. There was a great atmosphere around the sale holding both flat and national hunt stock and was fantastic to be able to attend for the day and to witness some of the National Stud’s lots go through the ring, in particular Princess Vega who made an incredible €150,000 topping the sale.


Image credit: Orla Donworth



Drop a Line


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

Contact us form