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!