Student Blog from Gwen Browne (Ireland) and Henrique Marquez (Brazil)

A full month in and it is safe to say the National Stud is feeling like home. Initial nerves have faded, and everyone has jelled together.

In theme with valentine’s day, the covering season starts this week. This means soon enough the stallions ’rosters will be full and there will be a steady stream of mares coming in and out with excited breeders hoping to strike lucky and produce something special.

Before things get too busy in the covering shed, we had a couple of inductions regarding the procedures we go through before and during covering and also one in teasing. Paul led the covering induction and Eimear led the teasing one. Everyone has their own way of doing things so it is important we know what is expected of us and to carry out tasks in an efficient and safe manner.

On Tuesday night we were joined by Kevin Blake and he shared his story in racing and how he overcame problems to get to where he is today. It was a brilliant chat, as Kevin works in many aspects of this industry and is involved with some great organizations, giving us ideas for our future career plans. He was very generous with his time allowing us all to quiz him with questions and even give us the inside scoop on some horses he fancies!

After Kevin’s great lecture, we were provided with an “Italian Night” at the INS restaurant. There was Pizza, Tiramisu and Bruschetta, and obviously some Italian music as well, by our own DJ, Tadgh.

Thursday Night there was Quiz Night at the Silken Thomas, it was a welcoming night for the people from the Flying Start that were returning to Ireland and a great opportunity for us meet other people from the industry, test our knowledge and memory on some general knowledge questions but mainly on thoroughbreds of course. Unfortunately, our teams didn’t win, but it was a very enjoyable evening and everyone made the most out of it.

It was a busy week, full of activities, lectures, and inductions as we approach the most active part of the season, with the foaling unit and the covering shed functioning at its fullest. All the students are extremely engaged and ready for what is to come in the following weeks.



This last week I was placed at Murphy’s and Minoru under Claire and Shaun. We take care of mares that are due foaling at a later date, therefore they get placed at Murphy’s, as Sun Chariot (Foaling Unit) is full, and as the mares foal, the ones at Murphy’s that are closer to their due date or the ones that are already showing signs are moved, making room for other mares arriving. There is a daily communication between the managers of both yards to keep the process running smoothly.

The days are very straight forward, we come in the mornings, check the mares and turn them out to their assigned paddocks for the day. We clean everything, shake up the stables or muck out – on muck out day –  feed them, and give hay. On the afternoons we bring all the mares in, check them again to make sure everything is alright and treat the ones that need treatments. During the week, a few mares needed veterinary attention to ensure that everything is running accordingly, blood tests and a pregnancy check were done.

As the season is approaching its acme, we had to assist Sun Chariot in the mornings, turning the mares out and helping them mucking out as well as the yard is almost completely full. On Thursday I also had to help Dylan and Ian for the yearlings’ x-rays, on the afternoon, it is great to get the chance and do a bit of everything around the farm and increase our knowledge.

A month flew by, and I can say that the Irish National Stud has taught me so much, every day we learn something new, either at the classroom or at the yards we get placed at. I am eager to see what the upcoming weeks have in store.



This week I was working in Kildare and Strawhall yards under the watchful eye of Laura. Having worked in racing rather than studs it was a good introduction to mares and foals.

Strawhall consists of mares who a bit out from their foaling date. Each morning we check the mares bags before letting them out to their paddocks to see if there are any changes in size. Any mares that have increased in size will be sent over to Murphy’s for their final spell before moving to the foaling unit. We had three mares leave this week for Murphy’s!

Over in Kildare yard it is most definitely the calm before the storm as the season is only getting going so there is only four sets of mares and foals here at the moment. Each day we go in and check the foals general well being ensuring their bright and healthy and then they are turned out to the paddock for the day. I had never worked with foals at such a young age so Laura showed me the ropes and by the end of the week I felt much more confident with them. The foals are full of energy and definitely keep you on your toes!




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

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