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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Internship at Darley: The Summer of a Lifetime

Enjoy the following blog feature from our 2016 Equine Student Summer Internship participant from Maynooth University in County Kildare, Ireland - Emma Coleman.

My Internship at Darley: The Summer of a Lifetime

I remember so clearly finding out I had the opportunity to carry out my summer work placement in Kentucky. To say I was excitement was an understatement. Horses have been a huge part of my life since a young age and to be able to spend three months in the horse capital of the world is quite simply a dream.

After a long day of travelling from Dublin to Washington, and then onto Lexington I was exhausted upon arriving at my house for the summer on James Lane farm. My friend Lucy had traveled the day before me and it was as if we had not seen each other in months from the hugs and kisses we exchanged when I jumped into her room.

 I did not have much time to recover from my jet lag as it was an early 7am rise the next morning to make it to a day of meetings at the University of Kentucky with regards to our internship and visas. I instantly got a feel for how close everything was to in the city. Keeneland, Fasig Tipton, all the top studs and veterinary practices no more than a 20-minute drive from one another.

6.30am: My alarm for the next 3 months. While my friends back home in Dublin spent their summer travelling around Europe, I was set for a summer of early mornings, long working days and one day off a week, a Tuesday…. However, as demanding and tiring as it sounds it is safe to say I had the time of my life. The whole team at Jonabell Farm looked after me so well and helped me get used to the daily routine with the mares and foals. I worked in barn three along with Luis and Jose. Not only did my knowledge on the racing industry expand so did my very limited vocabulary of Spanish.

I got used to the working day very quickly and within the first 10 days I knew exactly what I was doing from the second I arrived at the barn to the last minute my lift arrived to drop me home. The first of my daily chores involved bringing the mares and foals in for breakfast. After they had munched away on their morning feed we then went around checking their temperatures and picking out their feet. The afternoon consisted of the heavier work with 13 beds to muck out, hay, water and the whole barn to clean. The standard of the stud was truly incredible to see. I never got bored of the beautiful scenery surrounding me, the freshly cut grass and the colorful flower beds. My favorite part of the week was when the Vet came to do the weekly check up on the mares and he talked me through each of their scans.

Being in the heart of Kentucky there is so much to see and do and having only one day off a week we certainly made good use of our free time. Barton, who worked at Lexington Sister Cities, was our lifesaver! He brought us anywhere we wanted to go, took us to anything we wanted to see and helped us to do our weekly grocery shop, the most important activity of the week! We got to visit Kentucky Horse Park, Churchill Downs, Fasig Tipton, Keeneland, see Coldplay perform in Louisville, spend the day at a theme park, visit American Pharoah at Ashford Stud and walk through the stunning scenery at Red River Gorge.

I can’t thank Lexington Sister Cities and Godolphin enough for allowing me to complete my internship in Lexington. This experience really broadened my horizons and gave me a strong understanding of the importance of the thoroughbred industry to Kentucky. It surpassed

all my expectations and I am positive I will return in the near future to pursue my dream of a career in the thoroughbred industry. 

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