Three young women working in the thoroughbred industry are heading overseas early next year to enhance their careers thanks to scholarships promoted by the NZTBA..
The Sunline International Management Scholarship has been awarded to Kyla Robb, and due to the high calibre of applicants and the generosity of the Keith and Faith Taylor Family, both Hannah Airey and Laura Macnab will study at the Irish National Stud.
According to previous International Management Scholarship winner and now NZTBA Councillor and Sunline Education Trust trustee Shannon Taylor, the applicants this year were the best she has seen in her tenure.
“They were an amazing, talented group of young people and it is very heartening to see so many young people working in the thoroughbred industry and applying,” she enthused.
“So much so that we asked the Irish National Stud if we could send a second student and thanks to Faith and the Taylor family, we were able fund two students.
“The fact that we chose three women this year is testament to the fact that they have loads of passion and believe they can have a successful future in the industry and are keen to progress their careers.”
For Kyla Robb, who is currently the Broodmare Manager at The Oaks, winning the scholarship was a nice surprise.
“Honestly it means so much to me,” she said.
“I guess that it reconfirms all my hard-work in the industry has been worth it, and now the industry is helping me and giving something back. I want to keep striving and learning in this industry and the scholarship gives me a wonderful opportunity to do that.
“I am really looking forward to going to Kentucky as what I have heard about Kentucky is incredible, they seem to do things so differently there and with no expense is spared. The farms look amazing. I have a fair idea of how things operate in Ireland and England, but it will be really cool to go America to learn.”
Robb will spend 30 weeks experiencing the operational infrastructure and systems at three of the world’s premier farms; Shadwell Stud in England, Coolmore Stud in Ireland and Winstar Farm in Kentucky.
She describes herself as a city kid through and through who used to ride when she could. Each year for her birthday and at Christmas time she would ask to go pony riding and didn’t get her own horse until she was in her early twenties.
On leaving school Robb was heading to Massey University to do a Bachelor of Economics and asked on enrolling if there was any way to study horses without becoming a vet, and they suggested the Bachelor of Agri-Science majoring in Equine Studies.
While she was studying, during the holidays, she got her first taste of working with horses and did a yearling prep at Waikato Stud and the following year went to Curraghmore Stud.
“I didn’t really get involved in horses until my early twenties after I had finished my degree,” Robb said.
“I moved to the South Island and worked on a dairy farm and I had a couple of ponies. After a couple of years, I decided I wanted to be in the thoroughbred industry and took a job with Gordon Cunningham at Curraghmore.”
Robb had a break to go travelling and, on her return, went to The Oaks where she worked in the foaling unit for a season, before travelling to Ireland and working the foaling season at Corduf Stud. On returning to New Zealand she was appointed to her current position at The Oaks.
-Michelle Saba, NZTBA