Keith & Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship recipient George Chittick provides an update on his time at the Irish National Stud.
I have been at the Irish National Stud for just over a month now and I’m lucky to say it has been an eventful month.
It is my first big trip away from home and I was proud to make it through the empty Auckland International Airport let alone Dubai where I had to take a train to my next gate. I made it to Dublin after leaving summertime at home, getting off the plane to -2 degrees and seeing snow on the hills during the drive to Kildare.
My first week I was placed in Maddenstown Yard which is the dry mare yard. I loved my two weeks here but it was very different to my experience with dry mares in New Zealand. Every mare was boxed at night so everything was hand walked in and out every day, a positive being I could quickly learn about each mare as you are handling them so often.
For the next two weeks I was in Murphys Yard which is pregnant mares about to head to the foaling unit to foal down. This was very interesting as you could see the change in the mare’s bags and physical appearance as they got closer to foaling, then sending them off to the foaling unit.This week I’m in the stallion yard. I'm thoroughly enjoying it here so far. Today is the start of the breeding season. The highlight today was handling my first northern hemisphere stallion which just happened to be Invincible Spirit – a top stallion who is the father of I’m Invincible.
Even though he is an amazing horse to work with, the highlight of my trip so far would be the trip to Ballydoyle and Coolmore.
I was treated to a tour around Ballydoyle, seeing all of the training facilities, past horses trained there and watching a group of young horses work on the gallop while listening to Aiden O’Brien go into serious detail on every single horse.
Coolmore was very impressive. We were very lucky to get a full stallion parade seeing Australia, St Mark’s Basilica, Wootton Bassett, Camelot, Circus Maximus and many more.
This lineup of horses was awesome to see and I was very lucky to get the opportunity to have that experience.
I am currently in the middle of an assignment about the Goffs February sale where we had to pick a mare out of the sale to write a report on, explaining what you would do to make a profit on this mare and/or offspring. I am enjoying this project as I have had little experience in purchasing horses and going into depth of a pedigree so it will be perfect to learn for the future.
Apart from all of the work I am having a lot of fun over here also. I’ve had my first pint of Guinness and gotten to know the group of 30 on the Irish National Stud course from all over the world. It has been amazing and I’m looking forward to what the next couple of months have to bring.