BASED at the Palace Farm in Armagh, Barbara Hanna has foaled down thousands of mares in her 18 years working closely with pregnant horses both in Ireland and Australia. Despite foaling up to 600 mares a year when she worked back-to-back seasons, she still finds the birth of the first foal of the year a little nerve-wracking.

“I get nervous before the first foal, I know it’s going to be six or seven months with very little sleep and I’ll be living off power naps where I can get them, but once that very first foal is born, I’m the happiest person in the world again.”