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Because of Horses

Aug 17, 2018

Before the cheering throngs at Churchill Downs or Belmont or Saratoga watch young Thoroughbred racehorses charge from the starting gates, Shelley Bunning and her team at Timber Town Stables welcomed many of them into the world as newborn foals.


One of the youngest female Farm Managers at one of the greatest Thoroughbred racing broodmare operations in the US, Elise’s guest today is Shelley Bunning. Known for her utter devotion to the horses in her care and for her expertise, professionalism, and her readiness to mentor others, Shelley still retains the wonder of a former horse-crazy girl as she oversees multi-million dollar racing mares like Havre de Grace, Plum Pretty, Songbird, and Groupie Doll.


As a young girl in England, Shelley knew that she wanted to work with horses and understood that it would take hard work, dedication, and an unrelenting drive to learn. At 16, she left home and took a job in a Newmarket racing yard handling young Thoroughbreds born, bred, and trained to run.


This episode, Shelley talks about her experience at Timber Town Stables, working with the racing world’s finest multi-million dollar broodmares, what it’s like to foal out and raise champions like Belmont winner Tonalist, and how it feels to watch "her” young horses race for the first time. Join Shelley and Elise as they explore the heart-warming and often exhausting broodmare and foaling side of Thoroughbred racing.


Topics of Discussion:

[:45] About Elise’s guest today, Shelley Bunning.

[1:26] What it’s like for Shelley to go to work every day working with multi-million dollar racehorses and their foals.

[2:22] What Shelley believes drove her certainty and passion from a young age to work with horses.

[5:12] Shelley’s experience moving from England to the US and her recommendations for young women with the same interest.

[8:26] Are there things that women bring to the horse industry that are sometimes overlooked?

[10:26] The importance of networks such as KEMI and TWN for young women who want a career with horses.

[13:42] Elise shares listener feedback!

[16:42] Shelley explains the CAEP trainee program (that took her to Timber Town Stables) and what her experience was like.

[21:50] Shelley talks about the personalities of the horses at Timber Town Stables.

[24:36] Elise shares a funny story from when she was a student working with horses.

[25:46] What it’s like to lead, handle, and work with horses worth many millions each.

[29:20] What a typical day is like during foaling season and the rest of the year.

[35:46] Foals that have made an impression on Shelley.

[37:40] What it’s like for Shelley to see the horses that she’s foaled run on the race track for the first time.

[42:55] The pleasure Shelley has had working with her equally dedicated coworkers.

[45:24] Elise shares a preview of next week’s episode.

[46:44] Where to learn more about Timber Town Stables.


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Mentioned in this Episode:

Timber Town Stables

Timber Town Stables’ Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

The Kentucky Equine Management Internship Program (KEMI)

BOH Episode 37 with Heather Holderby

BOH Episode 33 with Leslie Janecka

Thoroughbred Women’s Network (TWN)

Because of Horses Facebook Group

CAEP Program

BOH Episode 15 with Brandi Lyons

BOH Episode with Dr. Roly Owers

BOH Episode 41 with Niobe Thompson

Next week’s episode of BOH

The Right Horse Initiative

The U.S. Pony Club


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