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Profile on Ashleigh Pye, Foaling Attendant

Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out in the industry? What is it exactly that you do?
Ever since I can remember I have loved horses. I used to make “stables” from my Pony Pal books for my figurine horses and I’m sure I drove my Mum mad with how much I talked about them! I started out in the industry by enrolling in the Diploma of Equine Performance Management (the first year it was offered) which led me to my first equine job at Pagewood Racing. From here I enrolled myself in the Double Diploma when it was offered which is where I realised my passion for foals and foaling down.

I am currently working for the highly successful Ballymacoll Stud in Ireland which has bred horses such as Glass Harmonium (Gr. 1 winner in Australia) and Fiorente who placed second in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Most of my time is related to horses. I work 12 hour night shifts and when I’m not at work I’m usually thinking about what mares might be foaling, or if everything is going alright. I am known to even dream about work, I can’t seem to get away from it!

Delivering a Healthy Newborn Foal can be Very Rewarding

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
As the foaling down only takes place for 5 months of the year, most night-watchers will then switch to day work.

For some people (like me) it offers the chance to head to the Northern Hemisphere to do it all again! In most cases, the income is higher than those working days so it is very easy to earn a liveable income and even to have some extra to spoil yourself!

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
A lot of studs prefer to employ someone with previous experience in foaling down mares. I got this experience by doing the Double Diploma in Equine Stud and Performance Management at NCEE and also at my first stud job at Little Plains Stud.

Favourite horse memory?
My favourite memory would have to be the sight of the horse float coming down the driveway and seeing a little white pony being unloaded from the back, which I then learned to be mine. Or the first time I fully delivered a foal by myself out the back of the Wangaratta Equine Hospital on Melbourne Cup Day in 2010.

Future goals?
I have already achieved my first goal of attaining an International foaling down job, but from here I just wish to continue bringing live healthy foals into the world (and maybe see one go on to be the next Black Caviar?)

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I guess the best thing about my job would have to be seeing the different ways maiden mares react to going in to labour and having their first foals. It’s the most amazing thing to see them realise that the thing they have been carrying around for the past 11 months is their precious little baby 🙂

“A well-bred foal brings joy to the stable.” – Author Unknown

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