How did you get interested and involved in horses and in bloodstock/pin-hooking?

My family farm in Rathturtin, Co. Wexford, would be where it started. Farming and pin-hooking National Hunt horses mostly with a small bit of flat. I have three siblings and we all do a bit. We did a lot of hunting, show jumping, hunter trialing growing up. All for leisure, but the Celtic Tiger was prevalent then and my dad was quick to make hay while we were young.

We rarely came home from a hunt or a show where we hadn’t sold something. He filled the place with ponies and horses and we all soon figured out we’d have to put some skin in the game to see the real fruits of our labour. So any spare minute we’d be off buying something, somewhere with as much money as we could muster up. Dad in fairness would do the selling, he rarely missed. He sold a pony to George Mullins one day while I was jumping my round in a 14.2 class. Happy with the clear round, I just got a nod, “Good girl, put her in that big green lorry.” Great days - if only it was as easy now.

Who helped you along the way or gave you advice?

I’m lucky to have travelled a bit and worked for great horsemen and some clever people. I had a wild summer in Kentucky. The party-to-work ratio was questionable at times but seeing Peter O’Callaghan in action on his farm in Woodsedge was a great experience. The same could be said for Sledmere in Australia. Royston and Treen Murphy seem to have it cracked down there. I also did a stint in France in Haras du Logis, which was mainly to improve my French but Juliance Ince is English so that backfired.

Much to my father’s disappointment, his French isn’t great but he knows ‘Quel prix?’ and the French for just about any number north of a grand. I’ve also been calling Luke Barry for a long time now too, luckily for the phone bill’s sake, he’s a bit closer to hand these days. There’s a long list but I try to take a little bit from everywhere I’ve been and anyone I know.

What challenges/problems have you faced so far?

Personally thank God, very few. I had a couple of soft touches early on which gave me a bit of a start but I suppose trying to buy the horses you want to sell on a lesser budget was difficult, and it still is. Trying to buy any nice horse within budget hoping to turn a decent profit is challenging.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to get involved in the industry professionally?

If you are willing to work hard it’s very easy get to a job in almost any aspect of the industry. Being Irish is like having the golden ticket. Experience is invaluable. If you can gain experience while you’re young without it affecting your own pocket too badly and have a great time in the process, it’s a no-brainer. If I were to do it over I’d vary the positions, I worked on farms on the bloodstock side because that’s where my interest has always been, pinhooking, prep etc. I’d advise people to try a variety of positions before settling on one.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months?

My mother says you shouldn’t pray for abundance so we shall hope for that and aim to up the quantity and quality of stock in both codes going forward. I should also have said that I would like to see more young people get involved in the industry. However, after reading this article every week and personally knowing several others more deserving than I to be featured, I think the industry will continue to flourish.