LOCATION: BONITA FARM
My time working in the Maryland Horse Foundation’s Work Experience Program was invaluable in helping me reach my future career aspirations. I spent my winter break working at Bonita Farm in Harford County, MD, learning skills and gaining experience in the industry that I hope to have a career in.
I am entering my last semester at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will be graduating in May 2022 with a degree in Animal Science. I have been in love with horses, and specifically horse racing, for as long as I can remember, which is why I want to make this my career. I participated in the Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program in 2019, which gave me a broad overview of the many opportunities for careers in the Thoroughbred industry. Since then, I have been eagerly trying to gain experience working in the Thoroughbred industry while in undergrad to help prepare me for a career. The Work Experience Program was the perfect opportunity, as it allowed me to work first-hand in the industry in a position suited to my interests.
During my internship, I worked in the broodmare barn at Bonita Farm with broodmares and barren mares, as well as weanlings. I have always been interested in Thoroughbred breeding and have taken classes related to breeding and foaling in school. It was incredibly helpful to see firsthand what goes into running a breeding operation, from the day-to-day maintenance, as well as prep for the foaling season. Some of the things I helped with were mucking stalls, turn in and turn out, grooming, assessing health and giving treatments, as well as general farm things like straw delivery. Hillary Fisher and all the folks at Bonita were so helpful in sharing their knowledge with me and guiding me while working there. I think some of my most valuable takeaways were associated with general health care for all the horses, like treating abscesses, minor injuries, and giving vaccinations. I also liked working with the weanlings (now yearlings!) and seeing them mature and grow. All the daily things I encountered during my internship helped to build my experience level and better my skills working with horses and being a self-starter.
I am so thankful to the Maryland Horse Foundation and Bonita Farm for the opportunity to get this kind of experience that cannot be learned inside of a classroom. All the care and hard work that goes into an operation like Bonita Farm is for the love of the horse, which I am happy to be a part of. I’m leaving this internship with a strengthened sense of love for this industry and this sport and am excited to pursue a career with Thoroughbreds upon graduation.