'I learned a lot working Goffs' sale and I know my fellow trainees did as well'
Erin McLaughlin on experiences, and a month, she will remember for a long time
Our third Flying Start blog in this current batch comes from Erin McLaughlin, 29, from Philadelphia. She developed a passion for horses at a young age and upon graduating Centenary University with a Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies, focusing on equine business management and equine science, she completed both sessions of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship at Margaux Farm and Lane’s End Farm’s Oak Tree Division, where she stayed until pursing a law degree at Widener University, Delaware Law School. She has also worked for sale consignments such as Cara Bloodstock and Lane’s End. Before commencing Godolphin Flying Start, she worked for Michael Matz at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland
While Covid-19 may have had an impact on the holiday season, it did not diminish the virtual UK phase of Godolphin Flying Start.
The thoroughbred industry leadership and management programme was able to provide a UK-phase experience while the first-year trainees remained in Kildare.
The course allowed for practical work in the morning followed by lectures in the afternoon. The trainees even had the chance to work the delayed Goffs November Foal and Breeding Stock sale prior to departing for the Christmas break.
Overall, the month of December is one the first-year trainees are sure to remember, and is just another adversarial milestone in their dealings with Covid-19.
One of the first highlights was the time spent at the Racing Academy & Centre of Education in Kildare (RACE).
The first years were split into two groups of six, alternating weeks spent at RACE. While the one team was up early learning to be a jockey, the other team was learning all about showing foals in the morning followed by the office management at Dalham Hall Stud via Zoom meetings.
I was a part of Team A, or as I like to say the A Team. First, we had a fantastic time at RACE. We learned how to properly gallop a horse on their gallop before heading over to the Maddenstown Gallops for a bit of fun at the end of the week.
We also tackled the mounds on the Curragh, which was a real adrenaline rush. The hurdles and training jumps finished out our week on a real high note.
We had a rigorous week of interesting lectures and meetings. They spanned insurance issues, Tattersalls valuation discussions, a legal module covering contract law and employment law, and we even managed to discuss race management and planning at York racecourse.
We rounded out the week with an early-morning track walk at Naas racecourse. The walk covered ground management for both Flat and jump racing, as well as the impacts the track has faced in the wake of Covid-19.
It was a great experience to learn more about racecourse management and the importance of determining ground conditions.
Prior to departing for the Christmas break, we ended our virtual UK phase working for various consignors at the delayed Goffs November Foal and Breeding Stock Sale.
We were paired up and sent to the Irish National Stud, Baroda Stud, Oghill House Stud, Castlebridge, Tinnakill House and Boherguy Stud. I was placed with the Irish National Stud, where I showed foals and occasionally helped with cards.
I was also lucky enough to follow Cathal Beale, Gary Swift and Paddy Diamond around looking at mares to learn more about evaluating horses and their particular tips.
While I have worked sales for Lane’s End in the United States, this was a fantastic international experience. I learned a lot and I know my fellow trainees did as well at their respective consignments.
The 2020-2022 trainees are now getting ready to enter the USA phase. I am thrilled to show my teammates what American racing is all about and welcome them to my part of the world, just as they have done for me.
Applications are now open for the 2021-2023 intake, and I have no reservations saying Godolphin Flying Start has done everything possible to ensure Covid-19 does not impede our growth into industry leaders and professionals. December 2020 will be a month I remember for a long time.