Student Blog from Lola Queck (Germany) & Cillian Cosgrave (Ireland)

With spring in full swing it is safe to say both humans and equines have been truly enjoying the sunshine and the stud is starting to look very picturesque with plenty of mares and foals frolicking out in the lush green paddocks. The time really is flying past and being almost in mid may we are slowly coming towards the end of the season and the yards are getting emptier every day with most mares and foals staying outside. However this doesn’t mean we are getting less busy with only about 6 weeks left on the course, which we try not to think about too much, our exams are approaching quickly. This week was full of good racing with the Punchestown Festival, the 2000 Guineas and the 1000 Guineas. We all followed INS resident Phoenix Of Spain’s runner Haatem with excitement, he finished a good third in the 2000 Guineas. During the long weekend we also had to fit in some study sessions into our busy social schedule. With our practical gained knowledge, notes and presentations from previous lectures we studied and quizzed each other for days no matter if it was during mucking out boxes, vetting or having lunch in the canteen and went well prepared into the exam. It truly felt like being back in school. Following the long weekend we had our first exam on Tuesday which contained 25 multiple choice questions about equine breeding including the mares oestrus cycle, reproductive system, foalings and aftercare. Of course we had to celebrate completing the first of six exams with a pint  in the Harp that night.



After a long weekend that I spent going racing at Punchestown and catching up with some friends I was placed again in Kildare Yard with the mares and foals. For me, it was nice to see some of the foals again that I just foaled the during the previous week in the foaling unit on night watch routine since they move to Kildare Yard when they are a few days old. It is truly amazing to see how quickly they grow and develop a personality. I was also rostered as the teasing student which means I get to work very closely with the vet and follow the teasing throughout the week. Each day I go through the teasing list with Laura, who runs the yard, and make sure we follow the mares cycle closely and decide which one needs to be teased in the morning before the vet arrives to examine the mares. Since it is warmer now and we finally have some nicer weather most mares and foals stay outside day and night. We check and feed them in the morning and afternoon and the mares needed for the vetting are brought in to the barn in the morning to have them handy once the vet arrives. The younger foals stay in the smaller nursery paddocks and the older, bigger ones live in groups of 4 – 5 mare and foal pairs in the bigger fields. The mares that have already scanned in foal and wont be scanned as frequently live in the fields further from the yard. Where as the ones that are still getting covered or are close to cover, live closer to the yard and stocks to make it easier for us to bring them in. We also had a few chest scans during the week to make sure none of the foals have abscesses in their lungs caused by the Rhodococcus equi bacteria, which is quite common in the soil. When caught and treated early they aren’t too problematic which is why we scan all foals routinely. I really enjoyed my week in Kildare Yard since I find the veterinarian side of the industry very fascinating, there is always something new to learn. We also had two very interesting lectures this week. The first one with Equine Surgeon Claire Hawkes, who is an Irish National Stud Course graduate herself, that gave us an insight on the anatomy of the respiratory system and problems and diseases relating to it. The second lecture of the week was held by Elinor Wolf another INS and Godolphin Flying Start graduate who I  met during her placement in Australia and who now works for Thoroughbred Country. They play a very important role to promote the Irish Thoroughbred Industry to tourists from all over the world trying to make it more accessible which is essential for the industry’s survival.



This week I was located in Sun Chariot which is run by Tina. This is the main foaling yard for the mares that come to the Irish National Stud. As the foaling season is coming to a close it was a lot quieter than last time I was here. When starting the week there were only 17 mares left and as the week went on it gradually got less as more foals were welcomed to the farm.

The day would start at 8 am unless you were on foal watch where it would begin at 7 which I was assigned on Tuesday. We would start the day by letting the mares out into their assigned paddocks with the mares we think will foal soon assigned to a woodchip which is located close to the foaling boxes. We would then check on the mares and foals that were born the previous night and give them any medications that they may require and check their temperatures. After that we would then shake up their boxes and hay and feed them then blow the yard to ensure it is clean for the tourists that would be coming throughout the day. On a Thursday we would muck out all their boxes and give them new bedding. After every foaling when the mare and foal had left to go to either Kildare yard or back to their own stud, we would strip their box completely and power wash it then get it ready for the next mare that would begin to foal.

On Thursday as we had finished up for the day and before the nightshift people began their work, we got a text off Tina who was doing her checks and told us that there was a foaling. We went down and were able to help the mare deliver a little filly with no complications.

Later on, that night we took part in a weekly tag rugby competition in Newbridge Rugby Club where we got great support from a few of our fellow students. With the weather being so great this really did add to the amount of fun we had. Unfortunately, we did get beat but we all still got a great laugh out of it with some questionable rugby on display by us.

Sun Chariot is one of my favourite yards on the stud and I really hope to do another week there before the course ends at the end of June.



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

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