Four entrepreneurial Erris teenagers have generated quite a stir with their transition year school project.
Brothers Patrick and Sean Lavelle, David Dixon, and Patrick Reilly, all students of Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet, aged between 14 and 16 years, cleared an incredible €12,000 profit in September at the prestigious Tattersalls yearling sales at Fairyhouse.
Their story is now to feature on RTÉ’s Ear to the Ground in the coming weeks.
The horsey teenagers founded Erris Bloodstock as their transition year ‘mini-company’.
They took a major punt on the venture, sinking their combined life savings of €6,500 into the project.
“We came up with the idea of pinhooking two foals,” explained 16-year-old Patrick Reilly, who developed an interest in horses from a young age as his father kept some at home.
Pinhooking is the practice of purchasing a filly foal and turning it around a year later in the hopes of making a profit.
The Erris Bloodstock founders poured over the lists for the Goffs sale last September and selected 30 foals that sparked their interest.
Some of the boys’ fathers helped them to get in touch David Murnane, a trainer in Tipperary, Peter Kelly, a bloodstock agent from Kildare, and John Osborne, from the Irish National Stud, and the group travelled to Goffs to whittle down the list of 30 hopefuls to two eventual selections.
“We spent €6,500 buying the two foals - Renaissance and Frisky - and took them home,” said Mr Reilly. “We fed them and cared for them. It was alot of work but we shared it out between us.”
The build-up to the Tattersalls sale was a nervous time for Erris Bloodstock four.
“By the time we got close to the day we were just hoping we’d break even,” said Mr Reilly.
They did much more than that.
One of the fillies, Renaissance, was purchased for €16,500 and has gone to Saudi Arabia. The second filly, Frisky, sold for €5,000.
After costs, the venture left the boys with a cool profit of €16,500.
They have just purchased another foal at the Goffs November Breeding Sale and are hoping to repeat their success again next year.
“We’ll keep it up as a hobby and, you never know, we could make it if the business expands,” added Mr Reilly.