In the second installment from students at The National Stud, we hear from Adriana, Dawn and Sam for the latest update on how they are enjoying life on the Entry to Stud Employment Course. And they’re learning plenty along the way…
It’s weeks 3 & 4 and the course is moving along fast with plenty of new things for us to learn.
We are all now happily settled into 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 four weeks ago, we didn’t even know each other!
We have continued to develop our skills across 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; we’re also 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 have been key goals, and we are now a far cry from the students that started Week 1.
Visits during Week 3 continued to provide additional insight, learning and inspiration. We visited the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sales and received a comprehensive walk behind the scenes, which will help towards 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 the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art at Palace House, where our guided tour included the history of racing, the examination of the thoroughbred and the skeleton of the infamous Hyperion. We even had a practice on the mechanical horse before 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, too, in terms of the guest speakers and lecturers who continue to visit us to develop our knowledge and experience. The topics included equine dentistry and a health check workshop – the highlight of which was putting our hands inside the mouths of the ever-obliging Genie and Lucy.
Listening to this month’s guest speaker, Mark Johnston at The Pedigree Club was very illuminating and away from the horses briefly we had a visit from Racing Welfare. It was a real eye opener to learn about 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 his 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 so fortunate to be on this course and look forward with excitement to the weeks ahead.