Covering Southern and Northern Ireland
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Q&A with IH Trainer Stephanie Heeran
(The Intelligent Horsemanship Magazine – Summer 2018)
How long have you been involved with horses?
All of my life. When I was child my grandfather bought me a young Connemara pony and we ‘grew up’ together. I always then had one or two of my own sport horses; plus I worked in a livery and competition training yard for three years after I had left my first career as a technical draughtsperson.
Why did you decide to qualify as a Recommended Trainer?
I had a lovely mare called Saoicha but she was complicated and challenging. Although we built a good relationship and she went on to be a great competition horse, I always felt I could have worked with her in the early days in a better way. Wanting to find better approaches that were in line with my values of non-violence, or even non-harshness when training and dealing with horses. I started out on the Foundation course and really loved every minute of it. So I spent the next two years travelling back and forth to the UK to complete my training and become a Recommended Trainer. Shortly afterwards, I started working in Newtown Stud.
What is a typical day for you?
I manage a large stud so there is no typical day. We have just under 100 horses on site at any one time; plus I am overseeing mares to be covered and foaled, horses going in and out of training, plus obviously weaning and working with all the young horses. I also start as many of the horses as I can myself. Any day will involve a mix of hands on skills with a range of horses, and lots of phone calls, driving, loading and unloading, liaising with the vet and farrier teams and discussing issues with the Stud owner. I also liaise with the trainers about injuries, fitness, training and race decisions.
What is the most common issue you have to deal with when working with horses?
The most common issue people come to me about outside of my Stud work is loading and leading. I always find that although someone will say ‘he is great at everything but… Then when I meet them I find the horse has taken charge of the situation and the loading is never the real issue!
IH Trainer Stephanie Heeran is based in Tipperary, Ireland.