Student Blog from Wyatt Goodin (USA) & Tara Murphy (Ireland)

Wyatt Goodin

It was a wonderfully chaotic past week at the Irish National Stud, as the magic of the Cheltenham Festival and upcoming return of racing at The Curragh coincided with the ever-intensifying breeding season here in County Kildare. While the majority of students remained at the stud, those with runners at Cheltenham were granted permission to cross the North Channel and root their respective competitors on. To the delight of us all back in Ireland, they returned after several placings at the group one level. From the foaling unit to the racetrack, dreams of success are floating freely around all at the Irish National Stud.

Last week, I spent my days in the stallion unit, assisting with covers and working with the stallions through their day-to-day routines. The active stallions kept us busy, with a constant stream of mares arriving for covers by the proven, veteran sires and the promising young guns currently standing at the stud. My responsibility within the breeding shed varied from session to session, but mostly entailed holding the mare or assisting in the preparation of the mare for cover. I truly enjoyed the experience; the eager stallions made the covers very simple, and the adept crew allowed myself and the other student in the unit to gain a practical education very quickly. After this first rotation in the covering shed, I am looking forward to my next opportunity to work with the stud’s superior stallions.

Within the classroom, our workload this week was fairly light. We began the week with a lecture from Dr. Kevin Corley, a veterinarian and chief product officer of EquiTrace. He has been delivering a large amount of our Equine Breeding lectures, and this Monday was no different, with this presentation focusing on the care of the foal from weeks 1-4. Dr. Corley covered neonatal conditions including septicemia, enterocolitis, neonatal isoerythrolysis, and neonatal maladjustment syndrome, or dummy foal syndrome. He spoke about the symptoms we need to keep a close watch for and the subsequent treatment of the foals suffering from these various issues. This presentation was a continuation of the foaling presentations we received at the beginning of the course; it has been a valuable refresher to go over the steps of a foaling within the classroom while performing these foalings out in the yards each day.

While life at the stud is never slow, this past week has been bustling even among our standards. The course has been an outstanding experience so far and I am looking forward to the future.


Tara Murphy

The Cheltenham racing festival took place this week starting from Tuesday everyone was excited and there was a great buzz and atmosphere in our group. I was busy working in sun chariot yard where the pregnant mares and mares and foals newly born live. I was there from Monday to Thursday and from Friday to the bank holiday I was on night duty , I helped deliver ten foals over the 4 nights.

I was privileged to share my night shift with Australian student Amber Gray. Amber and I would do  checks on the mares along with our supervisor every 15 mins to check the mares and catch them  when they are coming into labour. When we do catch a mare that is in labour we remove her from her box when she has broken waters and we move her to a foaling box that has been prepared with thick bedding and disinfected to ensure comfort for the mare and newly born foal and to stick to strict biosecurity regulations. Once the mare is in the box we grab a foaling kit that has been prepared before we start our night shift, containing gloves, enemas, navel spray a towel and ropes to assist us with possible difficult foalings. We always have oxygen on hand in case its necessary to administer it to the foal after birth. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my time on the course I feel incredibly proud to deliver the foals that I have, and I would to love to follow their career paths as they grow up.



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

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