Dan Kent on his time at The National Stud

I could have easily given it all up there and then and left. I wanted to stay and complete the experience. The team at the National Stud got right behind me and helped me in every way they could.

Dan Kent another one of our latest Careers in Racing content creators came into the industry with very little experience. Read his career story below.

The National Stud offer a few different courses to individuals who are interested in working with thoroughbreds. I had never worked with horses in my life, in fact the only recollection of any horse I ever had was being sat on one when I was 11 years old and I certainly wasn’t impressed! However, I always had a passion for horse racing which was passed down from my dad.

I was after a career change and I stumbled upon the Entry to Stud Employment course on Careers in Racing. It sparked my interest as no experience was needed. Having never previously touched a horse, this appealed to me straight away as I could learn from some of the top individuals in the industry.

To begin with, being away from home and out of my comfort zone freaked me out. However, once I was settled in and got to know the fellow students more and also became more familiar with the tasks I was doing each day, the more relaxed I became. During the course I got the chance to learn the principles of horse care, including but not limiting to grooming, feeding, changing water buckets, mucking out, replace bedding and picking out hooves.

Unfortunately in this process I discovered that my allergies play a significant part in my journey. There were many days I struggled because of the hay, the dust and the straw. I could have easily given it all up there and then and left. I wanted to stay and complete the experience. The team at the National Stud got right behind me and helped me in every way they could. I was supplied with masks to help and given tasks to do that didn’t involve my allergies kicking off. I spent time on the feed run where we would drive around all the fields and feed the foals. I got to witness the vets arrival and observe them performing scans on pregnant mares, examine horses who may have a cut and have the process explained to me.

Alongside this, I got to do a few visits to off sight to places like the National Horseracing Museum and The Jockey Club Rooms. We had beautifully cooked meals prepared for us by the chefs who even went the extra mile and baked birthday cakes for those who were celebrating. To round off the time spent there, a graduation is held and a few students read a speech out to everyone. I had never spoken in front of that many people before and I challenged myself to take the step.

Overall, the Entry to Stud Employment course was a huge eye opener for me and I’m extremely glad I took the step and went for it. After the initial course at the stud is complete, you are found and given a placement to finish off the remainder of the course. Due to the my allergies that I discovered existed, I turned down the placement offer they gave me. This was a long and difficult decision to make as I enjoyed the course second to none and felt extremely well valued. Even though I didn’t directly go into the industry, I have been offered many different opportunities and everyone has made an active effort to help me find something I enjoy and can do in this field. I certainly haven’t felt left behind and I am confident I will make a return to the industry at some point.

You will hear more from Dan in the new year and can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.