A Great Way to Gain Industry Experience
Swapping my saddle for slacks was made effortless, having
been given the opportunity to work as a HRI Intern for the summer. Looking back two years ago to the summer of
2014, my life was revolving solely around making it as an amateur jockey. I
have held a qualified riders licence for eight years (and counting), worked for
some incredibly talented trainers and ridden some fantastic horses during this
time. The HRI internship has come at an optimal time in my life, as I try to
gain invaluable experience from the side of the racing industry that has been
somewhat unfamiliar to me.
In February of last year, I made the conscious decision to
acquire further education and thus applied for a digital marketing course in
Athlone Institute of Technology. This has proved to be a decision that I have
looked back on as one of my greatest achievements to date. I reached the stage
where it was time to think about my future. My riding career was not going to
last forever, so I had limited options. Do I try my hand at training, work as
an exercise jockey or go back to college? I chose the latter and have not
looked back since.
In the HRI Internship job description it says that, ‘Interns will gain a broad working
knowledge of different aspects of the industry’. This statement is pin
point accurate, as I have gained experience and an insight into marketing,
track maintenance, media, racecourse management and betting to name but a few.
This has been an ideal opportunity for me to put my studies into practice in a
real life scenario, with the added bonus of doing this through an industry that
I am extremely passionate about.
For the last five weeks, I have been based in Navan
Racecourse. This has allowed me to work alongside a team that may be small in
number, but contradict the saying that many hands make light work. Peter
Killeen, the racecourse manager, is a very ambitious man who is forever looking
forward to try and make Navan Racecourse as good as it can be for both the
equine and human visitors. The effective pairing of Johanna McGarry, operations
manager, and Amy Harding, operations executive, is a prime example of
multi-tasking at its finest. Be it customer service or marketing, these two
ladies have it covered. Donal Curtis, track maintenance foreman, has an eye for
detail when it comes to how the racetrack is presented. When you spend a few
weeks here you realise that this is more than just a racecourse to them, this
is life itself.
Between them, Claire Rushe and Sophie O Hare from HRI
organised multiple group industry visits. We visited the Irish National Stud
where we had the opportunity to see many of their stallions, all of whom looked
impeccable. We had a chance to get up close and personal to the “Living
Legends” that are happily spending their retirement in the pristine
surroundings of the Irish National Stud. These are all horses that have
contributed immensely to the racing industry.
We were fortunate to have a chance to spend a day at
Kildangan Stud, where we received presentations from Joe Osborne, Gerry Duffy
and Clodagh Kavanagh. This was a chance for us to learn what their roles were
within Darley, but also learn about their aspirations for the future of Darley.
From the moment you drive in the impressive entrance of Kildangan Stud, you
can’t help but admire the immaculate surroundings. Darley prides itself on
excellence, a trait that I will certainly try and withhold myself in the
Since starting in Navan Racecourse, I have experienced two
race meetings. I have assisted in marketing, hospitality, track preparation and
general running of the day. On non racedays, I work on updating and maintaining
our many social media platforms along with our website. I have learned that in
order to succeed, the finer details are key. This has been a fantastic
opportunity for me to gain an insight into many aspects of the racing industry,
an industry that will certainly play a vital role in my future.
Interested in joining?
Goracing Student Society
Published in The Irish Field
Student Intern Blogs
Dates for your diary
Student Race Day