Lilly on her time on The National Stud Diploma Course

It was definitely the best decision for me to go to a smaller stud after the course, as I wanted to acquire as much experience as possible during yearling prep.

From music to horses, can it be done? Well this is what happen to Lilly who found herself looking for something new in lockdown last year. She then found out about The National Stud and everything fell into place.

I completed the National Stud Diploma Course in Stud Practice & Management this year. We were incredibly lucky for the course to go ahead, with the entire country being in lockdown yet again. I spent the last two years living in Australia, where completely by chance I found by way into the racing industry.

In order to qualify for a second year working holiday visa I had to complete three months of farm work in a rural area. I knew that I wanted to spend those months working with horses, but initially didn’t know in which capacity. I applied to over 40 different studs in NSW and ended up at Segenhoe Stud. I returned to Sydney after my farm work and knew that my heart was no longer in the music industry, (my previous career)

I wanted to completely change my career plan. After my two‐year stint down-under I moved back home to the UK in February 2020 and suddenly found myself in a lockdown filled life for months on end. I spent hours on Google trying to figure out just how to get my foot in the equine industry door. I ended up reaching out to a friend, whose mum owns a small training yard in Dorset. She forwarded the National Stud Diploma Course information on to me, and just like that I finally had a plan again.

I really enjoyed the foaling side of stud work whilst I was at Segenhoe, but I didn’t know how to start‐off in the breeding industry here in the UK. The National Stud Diploma solved all those worries for me. It was a very busy six months, with many hours of mucking out, but for someone who wants to stay on the breeding side of the industry, it was packed with all the necessary experience and information that I needed for the future.

We foaled down 165 mares in total, of which I assisted with 19. The students change yard every two weeks, which allowed me to gain experience across the different sections of the stud, including the stallion unit, spellers barn, foaling unit and the stud office.

We had to learn to juggle the physically demanding side of the job, as well as attending two evening lectures a week ‐ not forgetting the social life within the hostel of course. We were incredibly lucky with our group of students and I cannot wait to carry on our lives within the racing industry together. I took a few weeks off after the course, using the opportunity to shadow Ross Doyle at the July Sales and also spent a week at Richard Hannon’s yard. I started my new job at Kirtlington Stud in Oxfordshire mid‐July. It was definitely the best decision for me to go to a smaller stud after the course, as I wanted to acquire as much experience as possible during yearling prep.

My management team have provided great learning opportunities, including lunging and long reining the yearlings, for which I’m very grateful. I was lucky enough to win the Gerald Leigh Travel Bursary upon graduating from the National Stud and initially wanted to spend next year over in the US. However, I have decided to postpone that move for now, and instead I will be staying at Kirtlington Stud for the breeding season next year.

You can hear more from Lilly on our Careers in Racing platform or follow her on Twitter by clicking here.