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Student Blog from Cian Gahan (Ireland) & Tess O’Connor (Australia)

Student Blog from Cian Gahan (Ireland) & Tess O’Connor (Australia)

15th Feb 2022

As our first month draws to a close, we have well and truly settled into work and are excited for the official Northern Hemisphere season to begin on February 14th.

This week consisted of many new foals entering the world, interesting lectures, and a trip to the Goff’s February sales. As mentioned in last week’s blog Goff’s Marketing Director Joey Cullen visited the stud to give us a detailed lecture about the operations of Goff’s whilst also providing us with an opportunity to ask about the assignment which entailed us selecting a broodmare prospect to add to our broodmare band. We created a shortlist of mares and inspected them on a selected day during the week. This included observing the conformational strengths and weaknesses and having an in-depth knowledge of the pedigrees whilst identifying prospective mating’s and both commercial and economic reasons for choosing the mare. Three of the students Lucy, Edmond and Ciara were also selected to attend the sales to help sell the weanling draft that the Irish National Stud presented. The horses were presented beautifully and fetched great prices.

Tess was at Sun Chariot for the week which consists of the foaling unit and mares that are imminent to foaling. She was thrilled at being able to see and partake in a handful of day foaling’s which can be rare and gain daily experience by working with the veterinarian who administers mare and foal treatments and completes in detail health checks of both the mare and foal post foaling. An important part of the Sun Chariot yard consists of foal watch which includes the mares being checked every fifteen minutes for any signs of foaling.

Cian was lucky enough to spend the week with the stallions which includes looking after some of the greats including Invincible Spirit. Daily tasks included feeding, exercising, turning out and grooming the horses for parades. As the breeding season is underway the stallions began covering later in the week and Cian was lucky enough to hold mares for cover and even paraded Phoenix of Spain for a client which was a highlight. The farrier also attended the stallion barn this week which allowed for Cian to learn about the importance of regular trimming and shoeing.

Our lectures for the week consisted of Care of the Foal from Dr. Kevin Corley who continues our Equine Breeding series and an in person visit from European Veterinary Specialist in Equine Surgery, Claire Hawkes from Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital who began our Equine Anatomy & Physiology module. The lecture was of the practical variety and allowed for us to take part in pointing out important skeletal and muscular points on the horse and undertaking a practical examination of the mare under the experienced eye of Claire. We thoroughly enjoyed this lecture as each of us got to take part and get involved in the process and ask numerous questions. Martin Leahy, Farrier also took a group of students through a farriery lecture touching on important historical points and operations of how to hold a mare, foal, and stallion correctly and safely for the farrier.

We are both thoroughly enjoying the practical and theory work of the course thus far and cannot wait to continue to learn as well as welcome visitors to the stud as of the 14th of February

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