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Lynne McLoughlin 1st Blog BBA Ireland

2017/2018 Apprentice Lynne McLoughlin reports from her first placement with BBA Ireland
Lynne McLoughlin 1st Blog BBA Ireland

As part of our interview process for the apprenticeship, we were asked to pick 3 establishments within the industry that we would like to gain experience in and benefit from when choosing our career path. The ITBA apprenticeship is perfect for someone who feels like they haven’t got enough experience in certain areas of the industry, someone like me! All I ever knew was a racing yard, and even though my goal is to become an assistant trainer someday in a successful yard, I felt like I was missing some vital bits of experience- such as knowledge on pedigrees and bloodstock, which led me on to my first choice of placement – BBA Ireland. Any trainer who’s successful knows what they’re looking for when looking at foals, yearlings, mares etc. And it is an area I felt I lacked knowledge in. I wanted to be able to look at a foal, yearling etc and point out the quality and spot the faults. I knew I would get a broad range of experience and knowledge in this area from a company I believe to be one of the best in the game.

The autumn months are extremely busy period for BBA as sales are in full swing. I was thrown right into the thick of it as Goff’s Orby and Sportsman Sale was around the corner and catalogues had to be prepared for the agents. Leona Hughes, last year’s ITBA NG apprentice was there for the first two weeks to show me the ropes and mentor me through the process. Leona was such a great help to me and made me feel right at home and part of the team from day one.

Not all the agents at BBA are looking for the same type of animal so before you write up and research on a catalogue you check with agents what they’re looking for etc. Well I can tell you the scariest words that were spoken to me since starting were uttered lately by one particular agent re the foal sales catalogue - “ Just pick out the good ones “!! , Panic stations go off as you do not want to miss a pedigree page on an animal that may turn out to be a superstar! Turns out those 6 words gave me some confidence to feel I was capable enough to only pick the good ones! I guess we’ll see in 18 months time when/if they get to the racetrack!!

Before starting in BBA my knowledge of pedigrees would have been limited. I could tell you about some of the horses in training with Mrs Harrington and that would have been about it! Since preparing catalogues for different sales I have gained so much experience in pedigrees. Pedigrees are a vital component in purchasing and breeding thoroughbreds and I am so glad to say I’ve learned a great deal since joining BBA Ireland.

Before starting this apprenticeship, a close friend in the industry told me “ Keep your mouth shut and ears open “ and that’s exactly what I’ve done, especially when listening to the agents here at BBA talk amongst themselves about horses or when I get to accompany them at sales and view foals/yearlings/mares etc.

During the Open Yearling sale at Goffs I got to spend a couple of hours each day with Sarah Anne up in the shipping office. Sarah Anne does a top job organising horses to be transported all around the world. She keeps “Red Bull” in business during sales days as she never stops working from dawn till dusk!! Once the sales quieten down I will get to go down to the shipping department here at the office and learn more about what is involved in transporting horses within Ireland and also out of Ireland. I am looking forward to learning something new.

Since day one, everyone here at BBA has been very welcoming and made me feel like part of the team for which I can’t thank them enough. Ines Malone and Richard Fitzsimons have taken the time out of their busy schedules to answer all my questions and help me out whenever I needed it and I am very grateful for all their help. I would like to thank BBA Ireland for having me and of course the ITBA for giving me this wonderful opportunity to broaden my knowledge in another area of the equine industry.

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