Q&A – Caitlin Bryce, Barn Leader

Martin StevensStaff

Chasemore Farm might have state of the art facilities and blue blooded breeding stock, but it would all be for nothing if we didn't have our outstanding workforce.

One of those valued members of staff, barn leader Caitlin Bryce, tells us about her globetrotting background and her duties on the stud in our latest Q&A.

She also gives us a few Chasemore horses to follow, both in the breeding shed and on the track.

Can you tell us about your background ?

Well, when I was young I was one of those little girls who just really wanted a pony, so I started lessons at a riding school. I always knew I wanted to work with horses and when I was 15 I spent a summer on a family friend’s hunt yard and never looked back. 

I went on to do the apprenticeship course at the National Stud in Newmarket — that was my first insight into the stud industry. I went on to work at many leading studs internationally including Shadwell, Newgate, Lane’s End, Stauffenberg Bloodstock and Newsells Park, before deciding to establish some roots in Britain so I can be closer to my family in Scotland. 

My friend and fellow barn leader Lisa encouraged me to come and enjoy the life Chasemore has to offer, and so I started in June 2019 for yearling prep.

What does your role at Chasemore involve?

I’m a barn leader at Chasemore, which involves overseeing the day to day duties of the yard and ensuring all the horses are happy and healthy. That entails communicating with the vet, manager, maintenance and other barn leaders to ensure the farm is running smoothly and I also attend foaling’s during the foaling season.

This year I’m running the main yard with the mares and foals, so post-foaling care is a big part of my role as both are very vulnerable in the first three days, and noticing and treating any minor changes or problems is essential.

As the foals grow, I monitor handling, turn-out and diet management to ensure they are developing correctly. I keep a weekly record of the foals’ weights to make sure they are following a steady growth pattern.


Can you give us a Chasemore-bred two-year-old to follow on the track in 2021?

Wall of Sound’s Postponed filly is one to watch. She’s currently in pre-training with Malcom Bastard, who really rates her. 

We also have some exciting horses coming up that look more like three-year-olds, so look out 2022!

You recently qualified as a mental health first-aider. What did that entail and how is it helpful in your work?

I qualified as a mental health first aider at the end of last year. I took an online course that looked at all aspects of mental health and the best way to respond to and approach anyone who may be struggling.

Initially I was offered the course after being nominated by a member of staff who has struggled with their mental health as their go-to person. As the past year or so has been so difficult for everyone because of the pandemic, I think mental health awareness is more important than ever. 

On studs we often work such long and unsociable hours, particularly in the breeding season, that I think loneliness and stress often go unnoticed or untreated. 

The course has made me more confident in talking to people and even approaching someone I'm worried about. I like to think the staff here feel they can talk to me about anything, work related or not, and even if I dont have the answers sometimes just a friendly ear is enough.

I also feel comfortable talking to management about problems raised by staff if they don’t want to themselves.