Olive Broderick lives in Galway and is the founder and owner of Kylemore Stud (with her husband Ivor) and also more recently, 'The Stallion Shop'. Olive is a well-known and well respected individual across the stud and breeding community in Ireland and abroad and she has an amazing knowledge of breeding / stud management.
1). In a few words describe yourself and what you do:
I own and run Kylemore Stud with my family. We stand stallions, have breeding mares and also produce some young horses. I am very involved with countryside equine sports in winter.
We have a new company 'The Stallion Shop' and this is focused on providing semen from stallions standing in Ireland and also importing semen.
2). Briefly - How did you get started in the Equine industry?
I am from a village (like many in Ireland) and we had a grocery store and bar. I always wanted to have a pony and quite literally went to anyone who had a pony. Anywhere there was a pony, you found me!
I was 14 when to work at Suma stud. Founded by Marily Power and Suzanne Lanigan O'Keeffe (RIP) - they were literally the trailblazers for women in stud/breeding in Ireland. They were both very knowledgeable and really understood horses. These ladies opened my eyes and gave me a depth of knowledge that I could not have obtained alone.
Marily and Suzanne introduced us to VDL lines (over 30 years ago) - with the likes of Arkansas originally and then Douglas etc. The close relationship meant we were entrusted with Huntingfield Rebel (ID) and his popularity at the time was huge, covering close to 500 mares in some seasons - no mean feat for an Irish Draught. Our relationship together is still ongoing and we have both business and horses together.
3). What has been the most rewarding moment of your career in the equine industry so far?
That is a tough one! - I am very proud that Leon Thijssen let us have Tyson to stand in Ireland.
When I go to the yard at 5am and look at meadow to the left and sun is rising, I often remember when we bought it - it was only an acre and you look down now and realise what you have developed and that you are currently offering some of the best stallions in Ireland. It can be a bit surreal and I am very proud of all we have achieved. No-one gave us anything and we have developed everything - a concrete farm of sheds now exist where there was nothing and the plan is to expand and build more.
I am also very proud of the reputation we have managed to build over 30+ years in the industry. It became very obvious when we travelled this year that people knew us and our long standing, honest reputation. New relationships with clients are very important and it is rewarding to watch these relationships grow.
In my opinion breeders can often get the roughest end of the stick and it is important that they trust us. If they can trust us to do the best by them, not only do they benefit but we benefit as well with repeat breedings.
4). And your proudest non-equine achievement?
Definitely my three children! They have had a very busy mum and they all seem to be have survived childhood and are resilient, practical with no fear of work. They all lived in the yard growing up and as babies were reared on my back in a sling.
5). In your experience, what is the biggest challenge of being a female in the Equine industry? and How did you/how can this be overcome?
The biggest challenge was certainly in my earlier years as I felt people did not take me & the knowledge I had seriously. This attitude seemed to shift around mid 2003-2004. I always felt as though I had to prove myself because of this and maybe men didn’t have those issues. At that time (pre 2003/2004) mostly men were breeders - it was difficult trying to get them to believe in me and that I knew what I was talking about.
Frustratingly enough -
I still get mansplained.
In this current time, I see similar happening with young female vets as to what I felt myself back in the early days. Working at a busy breeding yard with a lot of young female vets over the years, I still find that certain times people could be dismissive of them. It is important, and I try, to encourage the female vet to be more confident at explaining themselves. I have noticed that male vets and their opinion are more acceptable to men at the front of the horse.
I am hoping my daughter (who is newly qualified as a vet) may have an easier passage in the reproductive side of things; coming from this background.
The vast majority of breeders, both male and female are wonderful people who make this job a lot easier.
6). How do you balance your passion for equestrian life and other responsibilities?
This is a difficult one to do. I find it a bit easier in the winter as breeding is not as busy so the house runs better! In summer it is a tag team - whoever has time to cook has to cook, the kids will do the laundry, dishwasher etc. It is not easy, however, I have employed a secretary, who I must admit is also the best PA. It is the best thing I have ever done and makes it easier for me to give 100% to the business.
7). Have you many horses? - how do you maintain a positive relationship with your horses in and out of the field?
I don’t know how many - if there is enough feed and grass we don’t count them!! Stabled horses have a really good life, they are exercised twice a day (out of the stable twice a day) and all get turnout every day. The exercise may be - ridden /lunged/walking in hand/playpen. I would rather do two days slower in training then making them do it today.
It is vitally important that young horses are out more than they are in.
8). How do you stay motivated and focused in your area of expertise?
No time to think about it!! I am busy 18-20hrs a day from March to September. I get very tired sometimes but I try to eat well and keep fit. The older I get the more I know I need to eat well and do other exercise. I go weight training and spin 4/5 times a week - whether it is at 5am or 10 pm, I get it in. There are lots of health issues in my family including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis etc. so that helps me stay motivated.
As a whole I love what I do. It is easy to be motivated when you enjoy your work.
9). Any advice to young or not so young, female equestrians looking to get into the Equine Industry?
The industry has never been as accessible as it is now. There are many opportunities. Take advice and training from people who have set a good example in areas such as training and care of horses. You cannot be successful if you do not treat them (the horses) well. The age old saying is true - 'you get out of it what you put in'.
You must love them and want to take very good care of them and have their best interests at heart to be successful.
10). If you could change one thing in the Equine industry what would it be?
I would love if buyers of foals and young horses understand the work and effort and expense that goes in to breeding and producing a horse. Ideally, it would be fantastic if sales companies have a minimum bid of 'x' amount.
I wish that the value would be more reflective of the money and time that has been put in. I feel that it is more reflective on the continent but not here in Ireland.
Also very importantly, I would also like if breeders have a prefix on a horse that it should never be changed.
Many thanks to Olive for finding the time to chat to me over the phone last week. Olive can be followed on social media at both the Kylemore Stud and The Stallion Shop Channels.
Websites for Kylemore Stud and The Stallion Shop can be accessed directly using the buttons below: