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Sarah Dempsey Blog Dec 2014

A look back at my time in my YITBA apprenticeship
Sarah Dempsey Blog Dec 2014

I am all but finished the first placement in my YITBA apprenticeship. Having joined the scheme in late September I’ve spent the last three months working with Jacqueline Norris in Jockey Hall Stud on the Curragh.

My placement in Jockey Hall involved foal and mare sales preparation and I’ve learned a lot during my time there. The foals we were preparing were destined for the Goff’s foal sales and Tattersalls UK last month whilst the mares were also Newmarket bound.

I’ve really grown to appreciate the amount of work that goes into sales prep and that everything must be done exactly right to allow the horse to be presented optimally. The skills I’ve gained include the hands-on side of correct sales prep and how to show horses to buyers as well as learning about the ins and outs of the sales industry, the who’s-who in the domestic bloodstock industry as well as the buyers visiting from outside the country.

The work has really made me appreciate the importance of routine in preparing foals as any change, no matter how small, can affect a foal and any unwelcome upset could have a consequence for their sales preparation schedule. Being observant is key to working with foals so that you can quickly pick up on anything that might indicate an issue. Nutrition is an area that I find very interesting and I learned a lot about the role that nutrition plays in foal development and how it is used in sales prep.

The placement was not without challenges as the work is hard and the hours are long. The rewards of working hands-on with the horses were immense. I love working with horses so it wasn’t hard to find motivation to go to work every day. I had the pleasure of working with some really good horses. One of the Jockey Hall foals sold at Goffs was a particular favourite of mine, she was by Galileo and a half-sister to Tornado. I was delighted when she almost topped the sale, second only to the Frankel foal who made €1.8 million and set a record for the highest price ever paid for a foal in Ireland. If our foal was going to be topped by any, I guess there is no shame in being runner up to a record breaker!

I’ve met some really nice people including clients and buyers during my placement and made some great industry contacts who, with any luck, I might get the opportunity to work with in the future. I would like to thank all the team in Jockey Hall Stud Carmel Bowden, Sarah Doyle, Denise Callanan, Lyndsey McNally, Laura Bennett and Nia Fagan. The girls I worked with were very supportive, generous with their time and I learned a lot from them all. Jacqueline Norris taught me a lot and I’m grateful for the opportunity she gave me.

My next placement is with Willie Browne in Mocklershill, Tipperary. I am looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and hopefully learning

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