Student Blog: Gerard Donworth (Ireland) and Georgina Macintyre (Australia)


This week I was working in Kildare Yard. Kildare Yard is where the majority of the mares and foals go after the foaling unit. It is a busy yard which involves teasing, visits from the vet and this week the farrier did the mares and some of the older foals. I enjoyed this as the farrier spoke about the shape of the hoof and what he does to help the foal as it gets older.

In the afternoons, we had the vets in to do chest scans. This is done via ultrasound. The point of this is to identify any lung abscesses that are not yet clinical. Rhodococcus is a bacteria commonly found in the soil on most stud farms and infection from this bacteria can lead to severe respiratory disease. I never saw this done before but I think it is a very good idea as prevention is the best cure.

On Tuesday, we had Dr Barbara Murphy in to give us a lecture on the function of light in the breeding season and her creation, the Equilume Light Mask. This was a highlight of the week for me as I found it quite interesting how beneficial light can be. She spoke in detail on circadian rhythms which is the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The Equilume mask concentrates blue-enriched white light into the mare’s eye, encouraging her to start cycling with 70 days of this treatment leading to ovulation.




This week I was working in the main foaling unit yard, Sun Chariot. Here I looked after the pregnant mares getting ready to foal and several mares and foals. The daily routine begins with turning out all the horses into their assigned paddocks and getting the yard cleaned up. This involves shaking up and haying their boxes, putting feeds in, blowing the yard and power washing and bedding down any used foaling boxes. During this time the vet comes to do the morning checks of the newborn foals to ensure they are healthy and strong enough to either go home or be transferred to the nursery paddocks. I have several highlights this week including catching a mare foaling out in the paddock on Saturday which apart from almost giving me a heart attack comes with a very nice bonus! Being able to get to know the mares for the week and then foaling them down is such a great reward.


Another highlight of the week includes heading down to Leighlinbridge to the Lord Bagenal Hotel for the Mark O’Hanlon Memorial Quiz. Even though I found the quiz itself quite challenging the night itself was very enjoyable.


This week the students took over the Thoroughbred Tales twitter page where we enjoyed making videos in each of the yards and the Irish racehorse experience. It was enjoyable to see which video was viewed and liked by the most people.

We are almost halfway through the course and its absolutely flying by. We are thoroughly enjoying our time on the course and learning lots of new skills.




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

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