E2SE and Study Programme Students Neil, Mark and Abbie
So here we are, the final week of our 9 week introduction to the stud industry. It is difficult to believe the end is so close. The time has literally flown by since we started in mid-October.
Over the past two weeks we have been dividing our time on a rotational basis between the sales at Tattersalls, whilst maintaining daily duties back at The National Stud. The sales have been a great experience, really busy, each day commencing with exercising the horses, mucking out and grooming as quickly as possible, in order that we are ready from early morning for a constant flow of would- be purchasers wishing to view. The stud employed a core group of experienced hands for the fortnight, who were all more than helpful in guiding us novices, through the process. Some of our staff broadened their experience and worked for smaller studs such as Brook and Old Buckingham.
The first week of the sales was for the foals, a potentially daunting experience for these babies, who were taken out of their familiar environment. During the second week it was the turn of the mares. Over the previous eight weeks, we have worked and bonded with these horses on a daily basis and for many of the students to wave goodbye was a strange experience and for some of us, a slightly sad one. This is something we will all have to get use to as our careers progress.
All three of us had the wonderful opportunity to lead horses through the historic and iconic sales ring at Tattersalls. Nerves were plentiful, but we all got through smoothly.
We have also had to fit in interviews with prospective employers for our placements which commence after Christmas. These have included Darley, Shadwell and Juddmonte as well as some smaller establishments. The Training Staff have been doing lots of work behind the scenes in facilitating this process, canvassing us on where we would like to go, advising where would suit us best as individuals and then doing their best to make it happen. It is an exciting time !
Exams are also very much the order of the day and we all have to complete three; on the Racing Industry, Horse Transport and Horse Care.
The final week does not bring any “let-up”, with a number of lectures and practicals covering topic areas, hitherto not covered due to the daily demands of the stud on the build up to the sales.
We are all due to graduate on Friday, ready and better equipped to take the next step within the industry. We have all come along way, but recognise we have so much more to learn.
We have lived in our own “bubble” these past two months and it is only now with the anticipation that we are all going our separate ways at the end of the week is it beginning to dawn on us that Christmas is so close. We are attending the Carol Concert at Tattersalls on Wednesday night. Although we will be dispersing from the National Stud, we are confident that the bonding of this diverse group and the friendships will last for many years to come.
It has been a great course and we have all benefited hugely.
E2SE and Study Programme Students Jess and Emily
After 5 weeks of The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Entry to Stud Employment (E2SE) course and despite being incredibly tired, we feel we have progressed hugely. Week 5 started with the usual early morning yard duties and routine stud work. Afternoons have been with the mares and foals preparing them for the sales. Trying to groom the foals and mares was interesting to say the least.
Midway through the week were all were given the opportunity to attend The Thoroughbred Club’s career course and evening reception. The career course was educational and beneficial and gave a great overview of not just the opportunities within the breeding industry, but also veterinary and racing. The evening reception was a memorable event, the Jockey Club Rooms were spectacular and we were all in awe of the history and art around us. This event gave us a chance to network with people already established in the industry but also people who like us are either just starting out or looking for a way in. It was an honour to be representing The National Stud and be able to share and promote our E2SE course. Thursday was an in-depth tour of Tattersalls in preparation for the December sales. This expanded our knowledge of the catalogue and helped us understand the process we will all soon be involved in.
Into week 6 it has been another productive and intense week of routine yard work and sales preparation. It has been wonderful to see the foals develop and their confidence grow. We have all been lucky to be involved in exercising the foals daily, teaching them to walk and stand correctly. Amongst the practical experience we have also received multiple lectures. These have continued to build on our understanding of the Thoroughbred and the industry and supplement what we have learnt on the yards. As well as lectures from the training team, we have also been visited by external speakers. In particular we had an excellent evening lecture on Equine First Aid delivered by Flora Collingwood from NEH.
We have all gained so much experience working with a range of different ages and temperaments of horses. We are all looking forward to the final weeks of the residential course, which includes the sales, then progressing to working in the industry.
Life on the 2018 TBA’s Entry to Stud Employment Course at The National Stud continues at a fast and varied pace. We are all now happily settled in to life at Westbrook House, and the weekly timetable of morning yard duties, lectures, practical training sessions, guest speakers, outside visits and, of course, social activities. In addition, we have already formed strong working relationships and supportive friendships. It is hard, at times, to believe that just under 4 weeks ago, we didn’t even know each other!
We have continued to practice and develop our skills in a wide range of yard duties and horse care sessions. As we become more confident and proficient, Yard and Training Managers are giving us more responsibility, which we relish and grab with both hands. These have included leading mares and foals into the stocks and holding them correctly for the vet, bringing in weaned foals, and increased numbers of mares and foals to turn out and bring in, giving oral medications, and putting on and taking off rugs. It is a privilege to be able to handle these incredible thoroughbreds, and every day we are given tips on how to improve. Alongside horse handling, perfecting the daily routines of mucking out, bedding down, and yard cleaning has been a key goal, and we are now a far cry from the students of Week 1 in these areas.
Visits during Week 3 continued to provide additional insight, learning and inspiration. We visited the Tattersalls HIT Sales and received a comprehensive walk behind the scenes, in initial preparation for the end of the course when we will all be actually working at the sales. No pressure! After this, we spent a fantastic few hours at Palace House National Heritage Centre, where our guided tour included the history of racing, the examination of the thoroughbred and the skeleton of the infamous Hyperion, a practice on the mechanical horse and a visit to the impressive collection of horse art in the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries. At the start of Week 4, we were treated to a comprehensive tour of a Newsells Park Stud, which was not only highly informative but inspirational.
We feel extremely lucky in terms of the guest speakers and lecturers who continue to visit us to develop our knowledge and experience. These included an equine dentistry and health check workshop, the highlight of which was putting our hands inside the mouths of the ever-obliging Genie and Lucy, attendance at The Pedigree Club where this month’s guest speaker was Mark Johnston, and a visit from Racing Welfare which opened our eyes to the incredible amount of support we are able to receive in our new careers. Finally, to support our current assignment on breeding, Tim Lane, Stud Director of the National Stud came to give us an informal talk, which left everyone not only better informed but laughing at the many anecdotes!
It is safe to say that the experiences, opportunities and busy schedule prepared for us are nothing short of incredible – we can only feel incredibly fortunate to be on this course and look forward with excitement to the weeks ahead.
We start this blog midway through Week 2 of the 2018 Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association E2SE course at The National Stud, Newmarket. We are a very varied group of 16 individuals in both age ranges and backgrounds. That said we all have a common goal to secure a career within the Thoroughbred breeding industry.
An extremely busy first week saw us engaging in numerous activities. The week started having been split into groups to allow each individual sufficient opportunity to get involved in the activities. Each morning the day started with yard duties. These involved mucking out, leading out horses, vets’ visits and the teasing process. We are lucky in that the Stud is currently boarding a number of Southern Hemisphere mares, some of whom are visiting Banstead Manor stallions. Our luck continued in that the Stud also is boarding mares with foals at foot.
A few of us were taken away from yard duties to receive tractor driving training! Two brand new tractors and two very enthusiastic training instructors were at our disposal. None of us had driven tractors before so we were all thrilled to have successfully completed the course and passed the test.
In between all the periods of hard work we did have some social activities. On one evening we went to the Tattersalls sales Book 2. It was great to see so many experts at work in their field of expertise along with some potential future stars of the track. Another evening was spent visiting the Racing Centre in Newmarket. It gave us a great insight into the type and level of support that is available to us within our chosen new careers. The week was topped off by a tour of the National Stud given by Larry one of the stalwarts of the Discover Newmarket team!
On week two, along with the yard duties of week one, more interaction took place between we the students and the horses. We were given horses to turn out, bring in and take on and off the horse walker. We were supervised in doing this but it still felt great to be allowed to handle these wonderful creatures. The bottom line for us all is that we just love the horses!
Throughout the course so far we have attended a number of lectures which run alongside and compliment the practical work. Topics covered included the external points of the horse, the digestive process of the horse and other lectures contributing towards our Level 2 Racecourse Care – Breeding Option.
All in all it has been a great start to the course!