I spent this week at Kildare yard with Laura. In this yard, the main objective is to take care of the foals in their first weeks of life. The second major objective is to supervise the mares’ breeding cycles and give them the necessary care to put them back in foal. The days pass, the trees bloom and the temperature rise, leaving us with the feeling that winter is well and truly behind us. This allowed us to let the older foals live in the paddock to enjoy the good spring grass full time, and therefore also reduce the workload for the team. The coming week will be quite different for me as I will have the opportunity to be on night duty, probably for the last time in the course as only about 60 mares remain to be foaled.
On Wednesday, we had the last lecture of a long series with Kevin Corley, where we had the opportunity to learn the basics of the neurological and nervous systems of the horse and their related disorders.
This week was of course was highlighted by the Punchestown festival. Indeed, the team almost in totality was able to go to the famous racecourse of Punchestown for its important annual festival.
Everyone got to dress up and enjoy the show and the great atmosphere of the racetrack, for the greatest pleasure of the national hunt fans among us.
This week I was in Maddenstown with Tom and Jack. Maddenstown is the barren mare operation, where mares who didn’t have a foal this year as well as maiden mares who are yet to have a foal are. This yard’s main focus is getting these mares in foal. This is done by extensive vet work to make sure we know where in her cycle the mare is as well as ensure that once she has seen the stallion she has ovulated and then has gone in foal. We also back up the vet work with teasing which is where we bring the mares up to the teaser and we judge, based on her body language and attitude, where she is at in her cycle. I was the teasing student this week which meant that I was able to identify how each mare was teasing and decide on the mares who would be up for teasing each day dependent on how they were teasing, their vet work, and whether they had been for a serve or not.
During the week we also moved all the mares who have scanned in foal over the road as they now won’t require much vet work and it is more just a waiting game until the mares come closer to foaling. Due to us coming closer to the end of the breeding season most of the mares in Maddenstown are in foal and there are now only around 9 who have not scanned in foal to date, we haven’t had too much to do once the vet work is done. Because of this, I have been going between different yards that are busier, to help them with muck outs or putting out and bringing in mares and foals. It has been nice to have a bit of variety in the day as well as being able to help out when needed.
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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland