Keith & Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship recipient Hannah Airey gives an update on her time at the Irish National Stud.
Mother Nature has well and truly issued the reminder that she is unstoppable, as while COVID-19 ploughs ahead so does the labour and cycle of the broodmare. I write this blog post from the sit-up room, waiting on the last three mares to pop out a baby. It is my last opportunity to gain some more foaling experience, so I have my fingers crossed for a foal tonight.
The covering shed is still operating at full capacity, although the limelight has shifted as hobby breeders and National Hunt mares come through, looking less to the likes of Invincible Spirit and more to the Elusive Pimpernel’s of the world. While its noticeably quiet in the yards, the race has also begun to get problem mares in foal before the end of the breeding season. Between that and sexing, vet work is currently an interesting time to be listening in and learning about treating infertility.
With only a couple of cold snaps this spring, Ireland has put on some beautiful weather for our isolation period, and the horses get to be out in the sunshine all day from here on out. As such, the yards have come to a grinding halt and once vet work is done for the day, we are onto weed-whacking, painting, fixing, power-blasting and disinfecting in preparation for the coming months. Weaning is just around the corner, with yearling preparations not too far behind. Tourist season also starts again soon, with Ireland slowly being allowed to mingle again.
As students, our attentions have also been forced to the future. Meetings with Cathal and revision for our final exams have kick started everyone into thinking about where we want to be in 3 months, 1 year, 10 years… It has become starkingly obvious the impact COVID-19 has had on such an international industry as students must pass over opportunities outside of their homeland despite many studs and stables being desperate for staff. We are facing a season without a lot of people from all over the world, that are normally key to a smooth breeding operation in New Zealand and Australia.
In good news though, racing in Ireland is due to start up again on the 8th of June, leaving us with at least a bit of time to get into the Irish flat season, even if it is just the TV screen. And we certainly will not be letting anything dampen our graduation plans. It will be one of our few excuses to dress up and cause a scene,
Until next time,