The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) Program would like to thank Juddmonte Farms and Keeneland for their continued support. Juddmonte Farms named KEMI as the beneficiary of the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland Racecourse on Sunday, October 7th. Keeneland matched Juddmonte Farms’ donation. Thank you to Juddmonte Farms and Keeneland for your generous support, and congratulations to winner Blue Prize!
Graduate Spotlight: Adolfo Martinez
By Sarah Coleman
Keep Looking Forward
Growing up all across the Lone Star State, Adolfo Martinez graduated from Fort Davis Texas High School before attending Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, where he studied Animal Science with an emphasis in Reproduction and Physiology. “We always had horses around,” explains Adolfo, so going to school to pursue something equine-related was a no-brainer. While traveling to the Bluegrass for an equine symposium with his college advisor, Adolfo met force-to-be-reckoned with Shannon White, who at the time was the KEMI Program Coordinator. “I decided to take a break from my master’s-degree program and give it [the KEMI program] a try,” Adolfo explains. “I was ready for a change and was looking forward to gaining experience outside of the Quarter Horse industry.”
A Way of Life
This forward-looking way of thinking is truly engrained in Adolfo. Even before he arrived in Kentucky, he looked for opportunities and made sure he took advantage of options placed before him. Adolfo’s favorite part of the KEMI program “was meeting all the people I still continue to see today here in Lexington,” he explains. The amount of education available and the ability to network were instrumental in helping the KEMI students, he noted. “Everyone is helpful and knows contacts to get you where you need to be,” he explains. Though KEMI placed fantastic opportunities in front of Adolfo, the now-manager of Heaven Trees acknowledges that it “was my education and drive that helped me get what I needed out of KEMI.” While in the program, Adolfo was placed on Pin Oak Stud, where he was exposed to a lot of areas on the farm he was not as-familiar with and he had managers who helped him learn the skills he needed. After graduating, Adolfo worked for Thoroughbred powerhouses like Wimbledon Farm, where he flew with Lion Cavern to Australia; Mill Ridge Farm, where he shuttled Johar to New Zealand and worked in the foaling barns while in the States; Darby Dan Farm, where he was Broodmare Manager, then Assistant Farm Manager/Broodmare Manager; and Calumet where he worked with yearlings at their Bluegrass Farm division. Always looking forward, he then transitioned to his role as Farm Manager at Heaven Trees in Lexington, where he has been since November of 2016. Owned by Dede McGehee, Heaven Trees is a private farm with about 45 horses ranging from foals to retired broodmares and geldings. The farm consigns yearlings for the September sale and occasionally mares for the November sale.
“I love working on this farm,” Adolfo says. “The owner is great to work for and I have a great staff to work with; we do everything from horses to gardening to maintaining the farm grounds.
You Get Out What You Put In
One of the hardest parts of being a KEMI intern was feeling lost and like you didn’t understand what everyone was talking about, he explains. “As time passes, you catch up and it all makes sense,” he promises. When asked if he would complete the KEMI program again, without hesitation, Adolfo says “in a heartbeat!” On advice for students who see themselves in the Thoroughbred industry? “The days are long and some nights are longer. Dig deep and push your limit—it’s a very rewarding job.” Adolfo’s advice to incoming KEMI students rings just as true for those already entrenched in the equine industry: “Be ready to be open and bust your rear to make a difference. You never wanna be remembered for the bad, so make sure you leave a lot of good things behind.”
Truer words have rarely been spoken and, characteristically, Adolfo sums up his time in the Horse Capital as this: “[Working in this industry] has been a very fun and adventurous ride—and I’m looking forward to more.”
Congratulations to our Spring of 2018 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!
Lauren Booke – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo – Shadwell Farm
Belinda Bracegirdle – Western Australia – Silver Springs Stud
Katie Brooks – University of Maryland – Shawhan Place
Lauren Burrows – University of Georgia – Trackside Farm
Autumn Charley – University of Arizona – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Mariah Chastain – Purdue University – Shadwell Farm
Mariah Dietz – Illinois State University – Darby Dan Farm
Ashley Green – College of Southern Idaho – Indian Creek Farm
Alana Hamann – University of Maryland – Pin Oak Stud
Nicole Harrison – University of Adelaide, Australia – Ashford Stud
Katie Houston – Oklahoma State University – Shawnee Farm
Emily Keena – Kansas State University – WinStar Farm
Courtney Kehr – West Virginia University – Juddmonte Farms
Laura Kirkley – University of Arkansas – Mallory Farm
Rachel Knox – University of Arkansas – WinStar Farm
Megan Krivsky – University of Georgia – Darby Dan Farm
Meghann Maggio – California State University, Chico – Timber Town Stables
Stephanie Malleo – Scottsdale Community College – Juddmonte Farms
Marissa Melzer – University of Maryland – Ashford Stud
Emma Nicholas – Illinois State University – Heaven Trees Farm
Jennifer Papworth – University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Lane’s End Farm
Emma Paul – University of Queensland, Australia – Indian Creek Farm
Holli Pennington – Colorado State University – Trackside Farm
Abbigail Reno – University of Idaho – Crestwood Farm
Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona – Shawnee Farm
Kathryn Spencer – West Virginia University – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Amber Tinney – Ohio State ATI – Monticule Farm
Gabriella Vazquez – Ohio State University – WinStar Farm
Kayli Waddle – West Texas A&M University – Crestwood Farm
Best of luck to our Spring of 2018 graduates!
The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) is pleased to welcome 20 interns for the Fall of 2018 session:
Lindsey Bieri – Texas A&M University
Victoria Canessa – University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Anna Curlin – Murray State University
Jacqueline Dayutis – University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ash Hentges – University of Arizona
Michaela Horn – University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Rachel Knox – University of Arkansas
Christy Markowski – Cazenovia College
Kaitlyn Martin – Cal Poly, Pomona
Kristen Mason – University of New Hampshire
Catherine Messerly – Virginia Tech University
Vanessa Meza – College of the Sequoias
Madison Miller – University of Wisconsin
Lauren Moshier – Hocking College
Holli Pennington – Colorado State University
Hannah Rolle – Oklahoma State University
Kaitlyn Sciuto – University of Missouri
Samantha Una’Dia – California State University, Fresno
Jennifer Valentine – Rocky Mountain College
Rebecca Walker – Miles Community College
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club (KTFMC) awards one Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) intern a Management Award each session. This award recognizes an intern for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to the industry. The award includes a cash prize as well as an opportunity to shadow an industry professional of the intern’s choosing for the week following their internship. Emma Paul was recently announced as the KTFMC scholarship winner for the Spring of 2018. Congratulations, Emma!
The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) is pleased to welcome 29 interns for the Spring of 2018 session:
Lauren Booke – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Belinda Bracegirdle – Western Australia
Katie Brooks – University of Maryland
Lauren Burrows – University of Georgia
Autumn Charley – University of Arizona
Mariah Chastain – Purdue University
Mariah Dietz – Illinois State University
Ashley Green – College of Southern Idaho
Alana Hamann – University of Maryland
Nicole Harrison – University of Adelaide, Australia
Katie Houston – Oklahoma State University
Emily Keena – Kansas State University
Courtney Kehr – West Virginia University
Laura Kirkley – University of Arkansas
Rachel Knox – University of Arkansas
Megan Krivsky – University of Georgia
Meghann Maggio – California State University, Chico
Stephanie Malleo – Scottsdale Community College
Marissa Melzer – University of Maryland
Emma Nicholas – Illinois State University
Jennifer Papworth – University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Emma Paul – University of Queensland, Australia
Holli Pennington – Colorado State University
Abbigail Reno – University of Idaho
Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona
Kathryn Spencer – West Virginia University
Amber Tinney – Ohio State ATI
Gabriella Vazquez – Ohio State University
Kayli Waddle – West Texas A&M University
Congratulations to our Fall of 2017 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!
Rebecca Bannan – Michigan State University – Ashford Stud
Kristen Berg – North Carolina State University – Pin Oak Stud
Shannel Cacho – Middle Tennessee State University – Dixiana Farm
Paige Gilster – Iowa State University – Shawnee Farm
Alana Hamann – University of Maryland – Indian Creek Farm
Rachel Miller – Oregon State University – Denali Stud
Katie Ott – University of California, Davis – Trackside Farm
Autumn Petreszyn – University of Maine – Adena Springs
Sarah Prentice – University of Findlay – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona – Monticule Farm
Jennie Sites – Oregon State University – Crestwood Farm
Kayci Sperry – Kansas State University – Darby Dan Farm
Brianna Wolfe – Delaware Valley University – Silver Springs Stud
Best of luck to our Fall of 2017 graduates!
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club (KTFMC) awards one Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) intern a Management Award each session. This award recognizes an intern for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to the industry. The award includes a cash prize as well as an opportunity to shadow an industry professional of the intern’s choosing for the week following their internship. Katie Ott was recently announced as the KTFMC scholarship winner for the Fall of 2017. Congratulations, Katie!
Graduate Spotlight: Cathy McNeeley O’Meara
By: Sarah Coleman
Featured image provided by: The Jockey Club
Cathy McNeely O’Meara, originally from Boones Mill, VA (where some episodes of Moonshiners was filmed, she points out), has long been an animal lover and avid equine enthusiast. Cathy was involved with horses from a very young age; her mother was a show-horse trainer and had Cathy in the competition ring at just 18 months old. Growing up, “I was always the guinea pig for new, green ponies and horses to make sure they were OK for the lesson programs and summer camps … I got a real appreciation early on for keeping my heels down and my eyes up!” she laughs.
When it came time for her to go off to college, Cathy specifically chose Virginia Tech as it had full herds (five species) that allowed for maximum hands-on experience. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Poultry Science and has since gotten an MBA in Information Systems from Sullivan University.
Though always passionate about the horses, it wasn’t until deciding not to pursue veterinary school that Cathy stumbled across KEMI while doing an internet search. She knew she wanted to work in the equine industry, but didn’t know in what capacity.
KEMI piqued her interest. Though Cathy and her mom had worked with many Thoroughbreds when they retired from the track, she had never dealt with them as racehorses. “I was excited to be trying something new” with the KEMI program, Cathy said. She looked forward to being exposed to many facets of the Thoroughbred industry through the program.
The Difference Between Racehorse and Riding Horse
During her time as a KEMI student, her favorite part of the program was “definitely the ability to work with horses daily. I was fortunate to be able to expand my knowledge of breaking and training with new techniques and methods,” Cathy says. “Even though there’s a different way to do things as this is a business not just a backyard farm [like she was used to], the experience was demanding, but also thoroughly enjoyable.”
Dealing with the frustration of being asked to do something differently from the way one thinks it should be done was one of the hardest parts of being a KEMI intern, Cathy noted. While that probably just has to do with being young, she acknowledges, it was extremely valuable to learn that “there is typically a reason why things are done a certain way at the farms and you should respect that–certainly ask why, as you may be able to offer a potential alternative, but also be understanding of the potential constraints that may also exist.”
This was an invaluable lesson that all KEMI students learn and it is one that has served Cathy well, both in her time in KEMI and in her professional career.
Placed on Pin Oak Stud, one of Cathy’s favorite parts of her time on the farm was morning sets. “Regardless of whether it was actually riding out a set or just long lining them, I love misty mornings at sunrise,” she explains. And there truly is nothing prettier than morning in the Bluegrass, working with Thoroughbreds!
Though “I found out that farm life wasn’t my thing, I found a great appreciation for the industry and understand that all parts are equally important,” Cathy explains. KEMI, like any other quality educational program, is just as valuable for showing students what they DON’T want to do, as solidifying what they DO want to do. Exposing students to all the facets of the industry allows them to hone in on what they enjoy and don’t care for, working to ensure that KEMI grads’ future full-time jobs are ones they are truly passionate about.
Cathy O’Meara at Pin Oak Stud during KEMI internship.
A Vast and Varied Equine Career Path
Though Cathy does not currently work hands-on with horses, she has held many fantastic positions in the equine industry. “Directly after the [KEMI] internship (Fall then Spring session), Pin Oak sent me to Kildangan Stud in Ireland for a breaking and training season. Upon my return, I worked a few more months at Pin Oak, then left for a racetrack exercise rider position at the Thoroughbred Training Center,” Cathy says. “Over the next eight years, I worked as a freelance and salaried rider, had my owner/trainer license for a few horses, legged up horses for others, did accounts management for various farms and associations, and even worked as a farm manager for a year (which ended up not being my passion!).”
Ultimately, Cathy landed at The Jockey Club in 2008, where she has been since. “I now am the Industry Initiatives Coordinator for The Jockey Club and Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP). I coordinate the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits and handle the day-to-day operations of ROAP. While I never saw myself working in a regulatory/advocacy environment, I thoroughly enjoy being able to work through the issues that face our racing industry to ensure a safe and prosperous industry for the future.”
And though she’s not currently working hands-on with the horses, Cathy acknowledges that KEMI provided her with the foundation she needed work in her role with ROAP. “The hands-on experience and networking, which began through my internship, was the stepping stone to my next endeavors. Without it, I would not be working in the racing industry.”
Always Keep Learning
KEMI can be tough, especially if students come in with preconceived notions about horses or the Thoroughbred industry. Cathy’s best advice? “Plan to work hard and keep an open mind. There are different ways of doing things and most people want to do it ‘their way.’ Even though I [came into the program] with lots of hands-on experience, I still learned a tremendous amount.”
Cathy encourages KEMI students to keep an open mind when they’re involved in the program, as there are myriad positions in the racing world, not all of which involve training or management. “Just because one area [of the equine industry] may not interest you, keep networking and trying new areas. Hard work is key and respect for your managers is paramount. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and always keep learning,” she advises.
Juddmonte Farms generously made Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) the beneficiary of the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday, October 8th. Keeneland graciously matched their donation. Thank you Juddmonte Farms and Keeneland for your continued support!