The six-month residential course which commences in January each year runs for the duration of the breeding season and the small group of students form friendships and professional contacts which are often maintained for a lifetime.

The core aim of this programme is to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and competence required to perform effectively in responsible positions in the thoroughbred industry.

Programme details
The programme seeks to equip learners to carry out a range of practical and managerial activities in equine enterprises and, as a result, to enable them to apply managerial principles in an evolving equine industry. Throughout the programme, the learner will undertake a number of assessment activities comprising continuous assessment, practical skills demonstration, projects and final examinations.

A particular strength of the programme is the emphasis place on applied and practical skills which are offered through work-based learning. The aim is to ensure graduates have a practical and comprehensive understanding of the thoroughbred industry. The Irish National Stud is the only provider in the country offering a dedicated programme in Thoroughbred Breeding which revolves around the development of a range of transferable skills. Students also develop in-depth knowledge of the global thoroughbred industry through all stages of the programme.

The Certificate of Thoroughbred Breeding Management is accredited by the South East Technological University


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  • Applications

    Applications must be submitted online and accompanied by;

    • Current Curriculum Vitae/Resume
    • Cover Letter
    • Two references written on letterhead and/or have the appropriate contact information listed (referee name, company or business, mailing address, phone number and email address) and must be signed
      Reference should address the applicant’s suitability for the course including any academic achievement, horse-handling experience and personal character
      Referees may receive a phone call or email from the Irish National Stud to verify the recommendation. Please make sure your references are aware of this
    • English language proficiency certificate
    • Original transcripts of exam results / certificates

    Applications close October 1st each year.
    Applicants are notified by email if they have or have not been successful.
    Applicants may be interviewed in person or via video conferencing


  • Syllabus

    The practical aspects of the breeding industry are demonstrated as students rotate around the yards on a weekly basis, gaining knowledge and skills from spending time in the stallion yard, foaling unit, yearling division and stud office. Students attend lectures given by the stud personnel and those involved in the bloodstock industry including vets, farriers, bloodstock agents, etc. and cover a variety of topics including Equine Anatomy & Physiology, Equine Breeding, Equine Nutrition, Bloodstock Management, Equine Business, Pedigree Analysis and Personal & Professional Development.

    In the latter part of the course, visits are arranged to other stud farms, racing stables, sales companies, etc, and students are encouraged to interact with their personnel to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of each business area.

  • Entry Requirements and Fees

    Entry Requirements
    • Applicants must be 18 years or older at time of application
    • Applicants must have obtained an Irish Leaving Certificate or equivalent state examination.
    • Previous practical Thoroughbred experience or knowledge is desirable
    • Applicants for whom English is not their first language must include an IELTS result certificate (academic test) with their application. The required level for selection for the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is IELTS 5

    2024 Fees
    EU and UK Nationals: €5,000 International Fees: €6,000
    Fees include shared-room accommodation, meals, uniform, tuition, lecture materials and industry site visits

  • Alumni Gallery

    The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Alumni is a niche community of over twelve hundred people dispersed throughout the world who share a passion for the thoroughbred industry.  Many friendships and relationships were made during the past fifty years and we would like to foster and maintain the INS connection.

    New address or email? Please keep us updated so that we can send you updates, news and events relevant to you.



The application process for the 2024 course is now open.

Apply Now

What the graduates say

“The experience & knowledge gained on the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is unparalleled. The friendships & contacts made along the way have provided new horizons & will prove hugely beneficial for my career progression. Apart from the theoretical lessons & visits to leading stud farms, the hands-on training proved invaluable & all combined to enhance my passion for the Thoroughbred Industry.”

Anna Cahill

Class of 2022

“When it came to gaining International Thoroughbred experience, the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course was the perfect fit for me. If your goal is to develop and grow as an industry professional, the skills you will learn ad the doors that will be opened, this course will give you every opportunity to do just that.”

Alex Sausville

Class of 2022

“Having come from a family deeply routed in horse racing, the Irish National Stud course was a given for me. During my 6 months I got to expand my practical and educational knowledge of the Thoroughbred Industry. I not only gained in-depth practical experience of thoroughbred care but I gained valuable friends and connections who I will remain in contact for life”

Andrew Buick

Class of 2022

“The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course was a fantastic and very enjoyable experience. The course gave me the opportunity to meet some of the industry’s biggest leaders along with making new friends for life. I learned a lot from Irish National Stud staff, vets and guest lectures. It is a well-structured and respected course that has given me a platform to continue working in the thoroughbred industry.”

Basil Brindley

Class of 2016

“The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course presented the biggest opportunity in my career to date. Working on a world-renowned Stud Farm of the highest quality on a daily basis, attending guest lectures from industry leaders, trips and visits to places such as Bansha House and Jim Bolger’s Glebe House were highlights. I made many connections and friends for life while studying on the course.
I would highly recommend the course to anyone looking to further their knowledge of the Thoroughbred industry.”

Conor Hyland, Ireland

Class of 2020

“The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course is a once in a lifetime experience. It brings together people with all different backgrounds and experiences in an environment in which they can interact, and learn from each other.

The breeding course provided me with numerous skills and knowledge that have helped me to start a career in the thoroughbred industry. During my time in Ireland I had the opportunity to visit prominent studs, attend countless racing events, and connect with many of the leaders in this industry. The relationships I made during this time are invaluable.”

Sarah Collings, Canada

Class of 2020

“I would recommend the course to anyone hoping to make a career in the breeding industry. The combination of lectures, yard work, and guest speakers along with farm and yard visits gives a wonderful overview of the breeding and racing industries. We got a great insight into the mechanics of a large stud farm with a good balance of theory and practical. Working and living with a group of like-minded people, I made some great friends on the course from all over the world which will no doubt benefit us going forward in our careers in the industry.”

Nick Cope, Ireland

Class of 2019




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  • Head of bloodstock & sales, Whitsbury Manor Stud


  • Bloodstock, BBA Ireland

Student Blogs

Gain some insights into life as a student from another students perspective by reading our student blogs.

see our student blog posts


The Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Alumni is a niche community of over twelve hundred people dispersed throughout the world who share a passion for the thoroughbred industry. Many friendships and relationships were made during the past fifty years and we would like to foster and maintain the INS connection.

For further information please contact [email protected]

New address or email? Please keep us updated so that we can send you updates, news and events relevant to you.


Drop a Line


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

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