In the fall of 2021, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the Gerry Dilger Foundation scholarship in partnership with the Kentucky Equine Management Internship. The scholarship was to send one KEMI intern to participate in the Irish National Stud Breeding management program for six months in Kildare Ireland. It is an honor to be chosen to attend this prestigious program which is now also certified by IT Carlow so the interns also gain university accreditation. In the last six months, I have traveled, visited other farms, seen multiple race tracks, attended daily classes, and worked alongside my 29 fellow interns. The work we have done on the farm has varied throughout the breeding season. I have been able to work with the stallions in the breeding shed, help mares give birth to their new foals on night shifts, and care for growing foals. I have absolutely expanded my skill set and learned so much more about the thoroughbred industry. The best part for me has been learning about the industry on the European side and learning different ways to do things and especially learning from my peers and their individual experiences.
My view and experience of this industry have been very broadened through the six months on this course and I am so glad I got this opportunity. Throughout this season we foaled 319 mares which is the highest number the Irish National Stud has foaled to date and we learned so much through caring for that high volume. As the season comes to a close, we are going on more field trips to other farms and racing yards as well as taking our final exams and submitting final projects. Our exams span over the many topics we have covered in classes these last few months and are the marker of our time here coming to an end. It has been so rewarding to care for the pregnant mares and help them give birth to watching their foals grow up and become independent. You build such connections with each of the horses as you rotate through each of the yards on the farm and get to work with every single horse. I would not have gotten to participate in any of this if it were not for the Gerry Dilger Foundation and I am forever grateful for one of the best experiences of my life.