Q & A's -
Alicia Plaistow: Diary from Down Under
We caught up with Alicia Plaistow who had worked her way up to being Mares and Foals Yard Manager at Tweenhills before broadening her horizons with a spell in New Zealand this year.
Alicia started a Tweenhills in 2019 whilst completing her Equine Science and Management degree. She had previously worked on both sport horse and thoroughbred studs. She has also spent time working at Ecurie des Monceaux in France.
So, how’s she getting on?
“Hi everyone! My name is Alicia and after spending five breeding seasons at Tweenhills, this summer I took the opportunity to experience the Southern Hemisphere breeding season at Cambridge Stud, New Zealand. I was joined by Anya Ingman who also worked at Tweenhills – we were both ready for an adventure!
“After nine working weeks so far, we are both loving our time at Cambridge Stud, as part of the breeding team under the Foaling Manager with 100 foals on the ground of 250 expected.
“We have learnt plenty already, particularly the management with all the horses kept in fields 24/7. There are 40-50 mares close to foaling, watched under floodlights overnight, foaled down in grass paddocks and generally staying out with only a few foals coming into stables if necessary. It is lovely to see mares and week-old foals out in lush grass fields together.
“I am finding working with the vets and farrier very interesting, especially regarding conformation defects in the foals. Watching a periosteal strip of a foal’s knee and fetlock in the field was very interesting and good to watch the correction in a week whilst still living out.
“I learnt all about foaling at Tweenhills across each season, beginning part-time doing foal watch night shifts before becoming full-time. It has been great to develop my experience foaling here as well. We've been lucky to have a few day foalings already too!
“We have been able to do plenty with our free time too. We have been out exploring during our weekends off including lakes, waterfalls, zip-lining, thermal pools, caving to see glowworms and blue springs.
“Tweenhills has led to a lot of opportunities for me which I am grateful for. Every month is different and there’s plenty going on to learn from, which kept me interested. I would definitely recommend working there. I love both the breeding and sales seasons, so I will miss the Foal and Mares Sales in Newmarket this year, but I have to say it’s great doing a second season with foals in 2023!
“We do this job because we love horses. I have had quite a few favourites over the years and love following the foals on the racetrack. I foaled Valiant King and always loved him as a foal – he went so close at Royal Ascot and has since proven to be a genuine Group horse, so it’s been great to watch him. Ship of Dreams, Bella Nouf [dam of Running Lion] and Rosie's Premiere would be a few of my favourite mares, but there are too many to choose from really!”