Two students will attend the Irish National Stud in 2020 to complete the breeding diploma on the Keith and Faith Taylor Family Equine Scholarship administered by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.
Shannon Taylor, NZTBA councillor and Sunline Education Trust trustee, said the applicants this year were the best she has seen in her tenure.
“They were an amazing, talented group of young people and it is very heartening to see so many young people working in the thoroughbred industry and applying,” she enthused.
“So much so that we asked the Irish National Stud if we could send a second student and thanks to Faith and the Taylor family, we were able fund two students."
Hannah Airey and Laura MacNab will travel to Kildare next January to undertake the five-month Breeding course. The diploma covers both practical and academic units covering everything from business studies, to animal welfare and pasture management. The NZTBA has been sponsoring students to the Irish National Stud for nearly 30 years.
Growing up in Te Awamutu Airey used to ride a friend’s pony occasionally and this prompted her to take riding lessons.
“While I was at college, I saw a advert in the local paper for a job at Curraghmore Stud,” she explained, “Gordon didn’t give me a job but he let me hang out at the stud in the school holidays and weekends, and that helped me to decide to head to Telford to get some qualifications.”
At Telford Polytech she achieved a Telford Certificate in Equine Level 3 with distinction and the same with the Level 4 Certificate, and she also received the Telford Award in Equine Theory.
From there she did a yearling prep at Curraghmore Stud before moving into full time work there where she cares for the mares and foals. Airey applied for scholarship last year, and such was her desire to attend the course that she took on the advice of the selection panel when she missed out, upskilled and filled the gaps in her CV and applied again.
“I am really excited, it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” a very delighted Airey said.
“I want to experience all sides of the industry and I am sure I will get a good foundation behind me. I have no family background in horses, but my Dad encouraged me to apply for the scholarship last year, but I missed out. I feel much better equipped to take on the course now.
“I quite enjoy working with the vets when they are working with mares and foals, and finding out how they treat issues etc, I am hoping the course will give me some more direction in my career and help me become more decisive in what I want to specialise in. I am very keen to learn, and it will be good to get skills over a wide spectrum of roles.”
The reality of winning the scholarship has not hit Laura Macnab either.
“I’m still buzzing,” Macnab enthused, “it was a bit of a shock to be accepted but I am so so excited I can’t wait to get over there and get all that knowledge and bring it back here.
“It’s so exciting as the one of the next generation to be given this opportunity to do this course and come back and work in the industry it’s a great opportunity.
“We are lucky to have an industry to work in with such a great global reputation. It’s an incredible industry to work in.” -NZTBA