Ciara Russell's experience at Springhouse Farm

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Ciara hard at work at Springhouse Farm

"My time in the horse capital of the world, Kentucky was a brilliant and memorable experience. The memories I have made through the people, horses and places visited will be cherished for the rest of my life.

I arrived at Kentucky in June and was put straight to work as the yearling prep was well underway at Springhouse Farm. I was working in the fillies’ barn where we prepped 17 fillies for American sales such as Fasig Tipton July, Saratoga, Keeneland September and Fasig Tipton October Sale.

Preparations leading up to August and September sales were crucial. It was fascinating to see a slightly different way of yearling prep in America in comparison to at home in Ireland in relation to vetting, fitness and nutrition plans.

I was given the opportunity to go to Keeneland September sales and work for Paramount Sales. It was a record-breaking sale at Keeneland with over 2,500 yearlings being sold over 12 days. We were extremely busy showing yearlings at The Paramount Sales barns. Overall, it is a great atmosphere to be a part of.

As soon as the September sales were over, we were straight into mare and foal prep for the November Sales. November was a busy month with two big sales and Breeders cup on the calendar. I shadowed Spider and helped him put together his shortlists at both Fasig Tipton November and Keeneland Breeding stock sales. This was very interesting and a fantastic opportunity to give me further insight into pinhooking. It was a fantastic spectacle with some of the best bloodstock around America. When I returned to the farm for my last week it was great to see a barn full of the foals purchased at the sales and get more looks at them.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation and to the Dilger family for supporting me on this journey. This experience really broadened my horizons and gave me a strong understanding of the importance of the thoroughbred industry to Kentucky. As well, I want to say thank you to Spider, Dermot and the rest of the team at Springhouse farm. My time at the farm surpassed all my expectations. I learned a lot about the equine world in America, improved my horsemanship skills and made some great connections."

Ciara Russell November 2022

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