Despite not growing up on a farm, Jodi Finucane from Castletroy, Co. Limerick has always had a keen interest in the agricultural sector and a passion for the equine sector.
"I have been riding horses all my life; I lived out in the country and I used to help local farmers. Agriculture was always what I wanted to study and I enjoyed second-level Science." Jodi Finucane told Catherina Cunnane - That's Farming.
She enrolled in University College Dublin's Agricultural Science degree programme in 2012 and transferred to Animal and Crop Production (ACP) in second year.
Jodi worked for International Irish Showjumper - Shane Breen in Hickstead in the UK when she was in college and throughout her time at UCD, she was involved in the college's equestrian club and competed on the college's showjumping team.
The Limerick native joined TopSpec in the UK as an Equine Nutritionist just four weeks after she finished her studies in 2016.
Her undergraduate studies and thorough knowledge of the equine sector - experience gained at Camas Park Stud and Aga Khan Studs - prepared her for the corporate world.
This varied role - which she held for one-year - involved providing nutritional advice to horse owners across the U.K and Ireland; devising feed formulations at head office; yard visits and working on new products.
From there, she moved to fill the position of European Sales Executive at Plusvital - a global equine science company that specialises in supplements and genetic tests - in 2017.
"The company primarily has Thoroughbred clients. I have travelled around all of the U.K and parts of Europe where I have sold genetic testing to trainers; breeders Thoroughbred owners and educated people in the industry about genomics."
Jodi continues to pursue this role eighteen-months later and will embark on her next chapter in January; she has been appointed as The Jockey Club's Regional Partnerships Executive in the East Region and will be based at Newmarket Racecourse.
"I am really looking forward to starting with the Jockey Club and progressing further into the Racing industry in the new year."
"Every job that I do and every opportunity that I take allows me to identify my strengths; weaknesses and interest areas," Jodi said.
York Thoroughbred Racing
In 2017, Jodi co-founded York Thoroughbred Racing with her partner John O'Donoghue - an enterprise that came about from her love of racing and huge involvement in the industry.
"As soon as my partner and I finished college and moved to the U.K, we began getting some new owners and syndicates together."
"Racehorse ownership is perceived to be a very expensive sport and it is, but we wanted to bring something together that is affordable."
The duo buys and sell thoroughbreds and race them for syndicates within York Thoroughbred Racing (YTR); their main trainer in the North of England is David O'Meara.
"Our aim is to provide owners with an unforgettable ownership experience whilst aiming to stay commercial." Jodi outlined.
The syndicate specialists' biggest success to date came in the second season this year with Prince Elzaam who was purchased for £15,000 at Tattersalls; won twice and was knocked down at £60,000 at the Tattersalls sales in October.
"It was a great year for our owners and we hope that we that we will continue to grow; to get more syndicates together and to become more successful," Jodi said.
"I love Thoroughbred horses and racing is a fantastic game. You never know what is going to happen and there is nothing like having a winner - that's the best day of all."
"It's the unknown really - the fun of having a horse; seeing how it gets on through the year and bringing it to the sales ring."
As well as working at Plusvital and as York Thoroughbred Racing's Racing Manager, Jodi rides out every morning for racehorse trainer, Ed Vaughan in Newmarket.
Women in Agriculture/ Equine
Jodi said that male dominance in the agricultural and equine sectors is evident at agricultural shows; cattle marts and horse sales.
"If you look at the ratio of jobs with women and men, there is definitely more men."
She believes that if women work hard and stick together, every woman has the same chance as any man.
"Giving the nature of the Ag and Equine industries, I think there will always be a bit of a stigma attached. Again, it depends on the people, but I don't let it bother me too much."
"I don't feel that being female held me back and I always challenge myself. If someone tells me that something is a man's job, that makes me want to go for it more."
Stressing that one may never know when an opportunity might present itself, Jodi advises people to be confident in their abilities and have an open-mind.
"I was working with showjumpers and one year I got the opportunity to work at Thoroughbred sales. I was never interested in Thoroughbreds, but I arrived at the sales and look where I am now."
Jodi advises young people to further their education by completing degree programmes and combining this with valuable work experience.
"It is quite competitive now with some many people having Ag degrees; it is not something that makes you stand out anymore, because a lot of people are doing Ag degrees."
"If you gain as much experience as you can and show that you are willing to work hard, then you will succeed in the industry," Jodi added.
Going forward, making her mark and climbing the ranks with The Jockey Club is next on Jodi's agenda.
Her long-term goals include encouraging more people to get involved in the industry; having more horses in training and being successful with racehorse ownership.
"I also have an interest in the education of people in racing; I enjoy meeting new people and telling them about our industry in the U.K. and Ireland and how fantastic it is."
"Short-term I will be in the U.K. but long-term eventually, I would like to return to Ireland, hopefully with a lot more experience."
"I definitely think it is good to get abroad to explore new experiences and bring what you have learned home." Jodi Finucane concluded.
If you are a graduate working in the Agricultural industry and you want to share your story, email - firstname.lastname@example.org - and you may be featured on That's Farming next week.
Image source: Jodi Finucane