Student Blog from Brooke Ward (Australia) and Ian Hyland (Ireland)


As the week comes to a close, we’re officially just over halfway through the course. With 2 months and 1 week left till graduation. Time certainly does fly by when you’re having fun, learning and creating lifetime memories.

This week I was working in Maddenstown yard with the barren and maiden mares. It has slightly changed since I was last here a month ago. With two-thirds of the mares here at different stages of their pregnancy scans whether it be first scan which is done at 14-days after being covered, second scan which is 30-days pregnant, also known as heartbeat scan since the vet can detect a heartbeat or third scan which is 45 days pregnant. There is still plenty of teasing and vetting of the other mares too who may still be waiting on a cover and new mares who may have just arrived for a mid to late season cover.

The lectures continue for the week. This week we had lectures in Equine nutrition, equine first aid and skin care as well as a guest lecturer Jack Cantillon. Jack was able to give us an insight of what he does in the thoroughbred industry including owning and breeding mares, foals, yearlings, stallions and having a racing syndication.

My takeaway from this week are many things as is every week here on the INS course, but to narrow it down a little it would have to be the teasing process at Maddenstown. In my time working in Australia on stud farms, they don’t tease their mares. It was a fascinating process and seeing the mares at their different stages of cycles. Michelle and Eimear the yard foreman have been excellent teachers in explaining the process of teasing, what they look for and how a mare may react in their different stages of their cycles. The knowledge and experience I have gained from teasing will certainly stick with me into the future and be utilised in the future amongst many other knowledge and experiences I have gained in my time here at the INS.

The lectures and lecturers are also to be credited in the time they take to put all their knowledge and experiences into notes and PowerPoints and share them with us to help us gain more knowledge and experience in this ever-growing industry.

As Peter Moody once said about the industry and horses, “there is a lot you can learn, if you keep your mouth shut, but you’re eyes and ears open”



I had the pleasure of working in Maddenstown this week alongside fellow students Brooke Ward, Cathal Mariga, Alice Wilkinson, Kayla Bracken and Luis Ettedgui. This yard is run by Eimear and Michelle, I was lucky enough to work in this yard at the very start of the course which mainly had yearling prep at the time so to be back and doing plenty of teasing and vetting. This yard has both maiden and barren mares. Majority of mares are teased as well as vetted, so it makes it easier to tell when they are ready for cover. The main routine in this yard is that in the morning the mares are teased and anything that that isn’t for vetting is let into their respective paddocks. As we are two months into the covering season there are two fields of mares that are in foal that stay out at night and are brought back in for vetting and teasing. On Tuesday and Friday mornings we start at 7am in Kildare yard to help them get all their mares and foals out and to muck out all their stables. We also muck out our yard on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday this week we also had Richie our resident farrier on site to tidy up a few mares and the two falabellas. On Thursday night I had to go back to a yard around 8pm to unload a mare that was coming down from Galway to visit Nando Parado as she was a few days off, we had 5 new mares join the yard that day.

On Monday evening we had a lecture with Kevin Corley on equine skin conditions talking about ring worm, melanoma etc. he also talked about one account he had where someone had left a tail bandage on for too long where it cut the blood pressure off to the tail bone and cause the bone to fall off and was left with a small stump.

As part of being student leaders Brooke and myself got to meet and great our guest lecture Jack Cantillon from Tinakill House Stud, founder of syndicates racing and Co-owner of stallions Far Above, Bouttemont and Fifty Stars. He was great to hear from and to pick his brain for the whole hour. He spoke in great detail about his past and all his aspects in the thoroughbred industry.

On Wednesday we had Jennifer Corley to speak about equine first aid, where she talked about what most injuries are caused by and how to treat these. She also talked about that if you have a horse that has a front leg injury and have to transport it to the clinic and you’re using a trailer to transport the horse that to put it in backwards as when you break and the pressure comes on the front legs if there standing forward they could buckle on their leg.

Thursday was our last day of lectures where we finished up with Joanne Hurley who works with Gain. We had a lecture online with her last week but this was our first time to meet her in person. She spoke a lot about minerals and which minerals are best for the horses. A very informative lecture.



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

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