Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stud Work, TBs

Joys of the Thoroughbred Industry.

Planning on working with horses? Want to run your own property? Experience wise, you couldn't go past spending a season or three in the stud side of the racing industry. Pay wise - Thoroughbreds are your best bet for a half decent income when it comes to working with horses.

For the past twelve months I have been out in the 'real world', working - finally! Before coming to Ireland to study, I spent my days in a small town called Euroa, in Victoria, Australia that seems to house about a dozen studs - I worked at three over this duration.

As someone who wants to breed thoroughbreds for a hobby and run my own horse property, working on a stud is the best way to go about gaining experience. During the breeding season (August - December in Australia) you get practise at handling mares for service, handling stallions, horses for the farrier, treatments for horses (oral and injections), bandaging, foaling down mares, feeding horses and general stable work.

As the year comes to an end, it moves on to the yearling season where practice in preparing horses for sales, grooming, exercising, parading for clients and eventually taking the gorgeous animals through the sale ring (some, for prices in the hundreds of thousands!) is gained.

From December through to April yearlings are prepared and every eight weeks, a new group is brought in and it starts again, introducing them to being brushed, having rugs on, leading correctly.

Following this, it is time for the 'babies' to be weaned, and mothers are taken away and they start life without the 'milk bar'; slowly getting used to people and being handled, having feet trimmed and sometimes, prepared for sales at the young age of five or six months.

Excluding the horse's actual racing career, working on a stud gives you the chance to see the birth of a foal, it's first year or so of life and upon retiring to stud, the progeny it then goes on to produce. What more could you ask for?

"Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more." - My 'home' and work from August till the end of each year. - Another stud I worked at in Euroa.

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