2012 NGC/BHA Graduate Programme Placement Blog - written by Sean McGuinness
My final week at Newsells Park Stud has arrived, and if I am honest, I have grown quite attached to the team. They have made me feel extremely welcome and helped me settle in to the role of weanling preparation. The week started with all the foals continuing their hand walking plan. All of the foals seem to be accepting that they need to behave themselves and are starting to stride out. Meanwhile, in Newmarket, the Horses In Training sales are now taking place and during the evenings I made my way to Newmarket to catch the end of the sales and continue my opportunity to work.
Back at the yard, on Wednesday, all of the foals had to be paraded for Julian Dollar, who is the Stud Manager. This gave me the chance to practice parading a weanling, which is a little more difficult than parading with yearlings as they are a lot more inexperienced. A lot of my time during evening stables has been spent teaching the weanlings to pick up their feet, without having a tantrum! By the end of the week all of the foals were lifting all four hooves comfortably and withput a fuss.
On the Friday, my last day, I got to see where Nathanial, the new stallion for Newsells Park, would be stabled. The facilities in the stallion unit are out of this world and I am sure that they will have a lot of success with him. Mount Nelson and Equiano are also stabled here, so when they return for the breeding season the stallion men will be extremely busy covering mares with these three exciting stallions.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Newsells Park Stud for helping me, particularly Gerry, the Yearling Manager, who gave me some valuable advice on showing yearling and weanlings. Thank you also to Julian Dollar for agreeing to let me work on the Stud and supporting me throughout my time there. Finally I would like to thank the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association and the Next Generation Committee for giving me this opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge in the Breeding Industry.
You would think that after the sales the yard would be quiet, but that is not the case. All the foals are now in and ready to be prepped for the sales in December.
Each foal is hand walked around a huge paddock every day for 30 minutes. It is not as easy as it sounds as a lot of the foals are still very immature and have their ownideas about what they want to do, making it hard for their handlers to keep them under control. At some point each day one of the foals will get free and go for a quick run! Luckily I have not let go of one yet - but I am sure my time will come.
This takes up most of the morning, in the evenings all of the foals are brought in out of the field and given a good grooming to make sure that their coat looks at its best fot the sales in the up and coming weeks. Teaching a foal to pick up their feet is a big part of the preparation process. Foal prep is something that I am inexperienced in and I am learning a lot about how to discipline foals properly and teach them manners. This week has been a real eye-opener in how foal prep is carried out properly.
Book 1 is now complete and we can all celebrate the success. All of the Book 2 horses have arrived and are ready for showing. Saturday was a steady day with a consistent amount of potential buyers viewing the horses. For Book 2 my job was not only organising the cards but also spotting buyers who were more interested than others and making a note of them so that we could estimate how many people would be bidding on the horses.
All of the Book 2 horses sold bar 2 so they were taken back to Newsells Park and will now go into training. Once the majority of the Book 2 horses were sold the Book 3 horses were shipped in and shown. On the Thursday I was informed that I would be working back at Newsells Park Stud the next day to give me a chance to meet the rest of the team and familarise myself with the weanlings ready for foal preparation on the Monday.
The Friday went really well and I am now looking forward to getting stuck into foal prep and improving my knowledge. Getting the weekend off will be an added bonus and will give me chance to catch up on all the lost sleep!
My first morning started at 3am when I travelled to Tattersalls with the rest of the team from Newsells Park Stud for the October Yearling Book 1. We started to show the horses on the Friday and my role was to organise the cards, assist with preparing the horses and organising video-scopes and x-rays for the vets. Friday was a fairly quiet day with a steady number of agents viewing the horses.
3am start the following day, and I was told that today would be busy so better to get everything ready early. The lads weren't wrong, we were flat out all day with show after show. I got the chance to meet some of the top bloodstock agents and observe how they view a horses confirmation.
Tuesday saw the start of the Sale and there was a real buzz around the yard. Viewings were flooding in and horses were making their way up to the ring to be sold, so we were busy most of the day. I got to go to the sales ring with some of the horses and see them being sold which was a great experience. I stood with my catelogue, whilst on the phone, pretending to be a bloodstock agents whilst a few of my friends looked on laughing at me!
When we were finished in the yard the rest of the staff went home, but i stayed on to watch the rest of the sales and meet up with a few friends who were also working at the sales. I was able to be there to see the top priced lot of the sale at 2.5 million guineas, who was bought by my previous boss at Tweenhills, David Redvers.
Newsells Park had a great week making 3.9 million, just 20,000 short of 4 million. After all of the horses were sold there was no break as the horses for Book 2 were being delivered and were ready for showing on the Friday and over the weekend. All in all a great week and a massive learning curve.
This is my final week at Tweenhills and it feels like the time has just flown by. All of the horses are nearing the end of their Sales Preparation and will leave for Newmarket on Friday morning.
All of the mares, that are turned out in the paddocks, are having pregnancy diagnosis carried out, which means we had to catch them all and bring them up to the yard. Tweenhills had about 30 mares for the vet to examine so this process took most of the morning.
The foals are staring to be brought in to be prepared for the sales. Most of the foals are well handled, but some seem to have forgotten and this made for some interesting in-hand walking.
It is now my last day and all of the horses for Book 1 sale have left along with some of the staff so the yard was quieter than normal. At lunchtime I packed up my stuff and made the three hour journey (which took 5 due to some poor navigation by myself)!
I arrived at Newsells Park Stud to find my sales uniform ready and waiting along with a note saying "you will be picked up at 3.30am tomorrow for the sales".........
Week 3.The week started with a lot more sales prep, making sure all of the yearlings are ready for the Tattersalls October Yearling Book 1 and Book 2 sales. I was also given the chance to shadow the equine dentist when he was extracting wolf teeth, rasping teeth and giving the rest of the horses a general check.
The arrival of Strong Suit brought an exciting opportunity for me to ride him. He need to stretch his legs and let of some steam. I exercised him for half an hour around the all-weather arena. He is a great ride and he gave me a great feel.
The breakers that I have been riding are coming along nicely an are now cantering around the fields comfortably. There are a couple more breakers to start this week so I am excited about that.
This week has been really busy with parades for potential buyers and bloodstock agents. I am learning how to parade and show horses properly.
One of the best days I have had so far was on thursday when all of the horses going to the sales had to be wind check. The vet arrived and set up all of his equipment including scope, laptop, AOR pump and a sperate monitor. All of the horses had to first lunged for the vet to allow him to asses their wind during exercise. I was given the job of lunging all the horses for the vet, then take the horse to be scoped. This allowed me to see each horses palate and larynx on the large monitor. This was extremely interesting as the vet would explain where he thought any problem was and ways in which it could be fixed. Thankfully all of the horses were fine and are in top shape to head to the sales.
The week started off with a thorough run through of all of the horses housed at Tweenhills, monitoring any changes in each horse, checking their legs and general health. At Tweenhills hand walking of the yearlings is a very important part of preparing the yearlings for the sales. The aim of handwalking is to teach the horse to stride out and have general respect for the handler. I have been given 2 or 3 horses to walk each day. The yearlings are walked in single file around a very large field and complete 3 or 4 laps and I can confirm that you build up a serious sweat.
During the week we welcomed Harbour Watch and Strong Suit to the yard. Harbour Watch will be standing at Tweenhills as a stallion in 2013 and Strong Suits future is undecided at presaent. I have been lucky enough to ride out Strong Suit to allow him to stretch his legs and blow off some steam. He is a grand ride and it makes a change to ride a realy nice horse. During the afternoon my time is filled up with assisting the farrier by catching the mares, foals and yearlings as all of them need to be either shod or to have their feet checked. A visit from the dentist was very interesting and I got the chance to hold some horses for him and witness him taking out wolf teeth.
Tweenhills had some potential clients come to view the yearlings, so we had to make sure all of the yearlings were presented well before leading them around the ring. A few of the yearlings got quite excited and we did have a loose one at one point, but there was no harm done and the yearling was quickly caught. David Redvers evaluated each yearling and told the potential owners every detail about each horse and the plan he had in mind for it. As part of the parade resident stallion Sleeping Indian had to be bathed and presented to the crowd. I was given the chance to help with this preparation and I am learning more and more about handling stallions.
During the mornings I have been doing a lot of breaking and we have an extemely forward yearling by Dubawi who is coming along extremly quick. I started of with lunging him and long reigning. He seemed quiet, so I leaned over him in the stable and after a few trys I was sat up on him and we proceeded to lead him around the lunging pit. He is now riding around the outdoor schools on his own in walk, trot and canter. He is one of my favourites.
Breaking in yearlings is something which I am used to doing and Tweenhills are well aware of this. I have been lunging, long reining and backing yearlings. This has been a particularly enjoyable part of the placement so far.
I have arrived at Tweenhills Farm & Stud and am settling in to my accomodation. I have been introduced to the team and straight away got stuck in and started to handle the yearlings. I started by walking the yearlings in hand making sure that they are well mannered and have respect for the handler. After familiarising myself with all the horses I got the chance to visit the other 3 yards that Tweenhills use.
First was the foaling area, where I got to see the whole operation and generally saw how it works. I then went to the stallion and covering areas and got the chance to handle one of their resident stallions, Sleeping Indian.
Tweenhills has a wide range of horses turned out in paddocks from mares and foals to horses having a break from training. Handling the foals and learning to inspect their conformation was a highlight.
I then got the low down on the different type of feed that Tweenhills use their horses. Each set of horses has different feed and different supplements.
As in many yards cleanliness is paramount and Tweenhills is no different, an old underground oats mine needed to be cleaned out so myself and Ryan had the task of heading in and clearing it out in the dark.... this was a task that I would not wish to repeat!!
2011 NGC/BHA Graduate Programme Placement Blog - written by Amy Clapham
My first week at Tweenhills has been spent familiarising myself with the place and the people. I have been based in the office doing a wide variety of tasks, from booking flights for David Redvers, the owner, to ordering tack and yard supplies for the stud groom, Ben.
Week two was much more of a mix; helping outside with yearling preperation whilst still lending a hand in the office, which has been very enjoyable. The vet has been to carry out the wind tests and sales x-rays for the yearlings that are entered to sell in Book 1 and 2 at Tattersalls in October. This was particularly fascinating to watch, and demonstrated all the required elements of getting a yearling ready to sell.
Week three at Tweenhills was a very busy week again, with a mix of helping in the office and observing things outside.
My last week at Tweenhills was mainly spent outside helping in the yard with the general goings on; mucking out, yearling prep and watching the farrier.
I arrived at the hostel at Newsells Park Stud on Saturday afternoon to find my sales uniform waiting.