Monday, June 21, 2010

Hi Everyone,
Well last week was busy busy busy! As well as being let off work to watch Royal Ascot in the afternoons, we also had field trips each day. We visited two Equine Hospitals - Angelsea and Troytown, both situated on the Curragh in Kildare. We had thorough tours of both centres, and introduced to some very flashy technology. Both tours were highly insightful and it was very clear the hard work and dedication that is put in 24 hours a day by the all the staff.
We also visited The Curragh, not for the races this time, but a behind the scenes look at this historic peice of land. Covering approximately 5,000 acres the Curragh has records of chariot racing held back in the third century! And the Irish Turf club was formed in the 1760's! As well as the main racetrack, there are over 15 training tracks on the Curragh (turf, sand, polytrack and woodchip). As well as a hurdle and steeplechase training course. We were able to walk around all these tracks, and saw a few potential superstars in training.
Mid week we went to Derrinstown Stud, just outside the gorgeous town of Straffen. Although not as flashy as some of the previous studs we had visited, Derrinstown was obviously very classy and practically built. After being shown a few of the top class mares owned by the stud, and their foals, we headed to the stallion barn. Stallions standing at the stud are Alhaarth, Bahri, Elnadim, Haatef, Intikhab, Marju and Tamayuz. It was interesting to see the sire of the Epsom Oaks winner Snow Fairy, Intikhab, being paraded with a stick. But not just any stick, it was like a harpoon! So fair to say he may be a bit of a nasty pasty! Marju is the old boy, and at 22 years, sired the winner of the Irish 1,000 guineas winner Bethrah. He was just beautiful, and is unfortunately suffering quite badly from laminitis so we just had a pat of him in his box.
So as well as field trips and Ascot we also had a few lectures, from Henry Beeby, the CEO of Goffs Bloodstock Sales, who was very informative. And we also had a very interesting lecture from Dr Emmaline Hill on equine genetics. She based the research for Equinome, which was a study on the speed gene in horses, and how it can be used to find the best race distance for every individual horse. It is a single test, that is only done once in the horses lifetime, and basically could change the way that we all breed, train, race and sell horses. It was amazing, and im sure if you Googled it you would find all the information, because otherwise I would be here all day. All us students agreed it was the best lecture to date.
So the end of the week came and we were given a mock exam, 20 multiple choice questions to be completed in 15mins. Very broad, just to set us up for the main exam which is on at 11am Saturday 26th June! Scared!
Speaking of exams, I had better get back studying!
Hope the weather isnt getting too chilly (I actually wore shorts and a tshirt to work this afternoon! Who would've known!!)

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