WOULD I consider myself a writer? Quite simply, no. And if anything, far from it.
I studied Environmental Geography at university and, while it was heavily weighted with written coursework and scientific reports, that was the limited extent of my writing career.
As much as I tried to incorporate racing into my coursework, and believe me I tried, I couldn’t always find a connection between recent classic winners and glacial retreat in Switzerland.
So, how did I get the internship position with The Irish Field? While I didn’t have any established journalism experience, I did have a desire and passion to work in the thoroughbred racing and bloodstock industry.
I went straight into practical thoroughbred work after graduating, but I always found myself having to prioritise either bloodstock or racing. To put it simply, I applied for the internship because it gave me both!
The role allowed me to write about both sectors simultaneously, make connections with well-regarded figures in both industries, and most importantly, gave me equal learning opportunities for both bloodstock and racing.
I’ve always believed that trying to prioritise racing or bloodstock is similar to the chicken and the egg conundrum. Their inter-connectivity means they come hand in hand. Winning the Derby is far less significant if stud prospects are not on the horizon, and hot-topic sires are only so due to their progeny lighting up the tracks.
At the time of my application, I was actually in the midst of a six-month stint in sunny Sydney (around this time last year). I was out there for the thoroughbred sales season and to gain insight into the glitz, glamour and wealth of the Australian thoroughbred industry.
The Irish Field accommodated my geographical distance and opposing time zone, allowing me to partake in the interview process online. Their accommodating and hospitable nature has continued every single day throughout the duration of my internship. Not only have they tailored my internship around my specific educational interests, they have given me external experiences that I could never have attained myself.
Shadowing the newly appointed chairperson of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Cathy Grassick, at the recent Goffs November Foal Sale has to have been the highlight. A week of conformation analyses, pedigree picking and bargain hunting. I stepped-first hand into an agent’s world and learnt the purchasing process from start to finish, a week I wish to re-live on repeat.
I’ve been privileged to represent The Irish Field at racing and breeding industry events, such as Godolphin’s inaugural careers morning at Kildangan Stud and the ITBA Next Generation’s pinhooking panel at Goffs. I’ve taken enormous pride in being able to report from these events and relay the knowledge I received from attending to The Irish Field readers.
I came into the industry with no prior connections and have had my fair share of confusion on which pathway to take, or how best to learn. To be able help readers struggling in similar situations is exceptionally warming.
It was comforting to have so much diversity within such a routine role. You never know what breaking news story is coming in next, or which sectors of the industry will be under the limelight. Every week, however, you’re working towards the same deadlines.
I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve enjoyed the marketing aspect of the internship. So much so, that a full-time thoroughbred marketing role is what I’ve decided to embark on after my internships been fully lived. There’s no questioning social media’s rapid manipulation on society and such marketing skills are becoming increasingly prominent at the top of an employer’s list.
In short, The Irish Field internship programme has given me the experience to enter a number of different roles. Applications are now being taken for a new internship and I urge anyone with a passion for thoroughbreds to apply, no matter how little journalism experience you have. Applications close on January 9th.
Lastly, thank you to all at The Irish Field for your patience, knowledge, kindness and an unforgettable six months.