Ryan Arnel, owner and manager of Stonehouse Thoroughbreds, has joined the Board of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria. We asked him a few questions so that our members and audience can get to know the character that is Ryan Arnel.
Q. Ryan, tell us a little about your background and how you started off in this industry?
A. I have always had an agricultural background, working on sheep and cattle properties growing up. My thoroughbred background comes from my grandma who managed the first TAB in Melbourne back in the day. I grew up with my grandma, sometimes putting her bets on for her on a weekend after cricket and football on a weekend. I actually went to Marcus Oldham College and did Equine Business there which is where I put the agricultural side and thoroughbred side together.
Q. You have had a lot of experience in the game, including in the United Kingdom. How has this helped you build what is now Stonehouse Thoroughbreds?
A. When I decided to head back to Marcus Oldham, I always pre-empted that I’d be heading overseas. The industry is just so global and now, any young people that come and approach me and ask ‘what should I do’, going overseas is the first thing that I recommend. There are different management techniques that you pick up over there, so it was very important to get that grounding and see what goes on across the world. Everything I do today, it’s a culmination of everything that I have learnt which has included techniques that I learnt overseas.
Q. Tell us a little about Stonehouse Thoroughbreds and what this farm means to you.
A. I had a really good gig with Qatar Bloodstock overseas. My hopes and dreams were initially over there in England, but VISA issues came about so I ended up having to come home. After working for a few local studs, I realised my dream of heading back overseas probably wasn’t going to happen, so the next step was to start my own farm over here. This property at Stonehouse just came up at the right time for me and somehow the bank let me borrow the money and now I have started this on my own. That was in 2013, so we are now coming up to nine years of business and 10 years of owning the farm.
Q. You are based in Victoria, why is it this breeding state that keeps you based here and now on the Board of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria?
A. Bendigo has been home for all of my life. We are only 45-minutes away and it’s just country that I am familiar with. That makes it so much easier for me to farm, knowing what I am dealing with. It is also slightly cheaper land than you might find in the North East of Victoria. As a young person buying their own farm, it made it very attractive. Victoria is important to me, everything that we do at Stonehouse is based around the Victorian sales. The business, being a broodmare agistment and yearling preparation farm, it then relays as being based around Victorian stallions. Anything that happens in Victoria is critical to our small business.
Q. Now joining the Board of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, what impact do you hope to have for Victorian breeders?
A. Coming on the Board is something that has been spoken about for a while. I already sit on the Board for a farm supplier business that supplies around 70% of the Victorian breeding industry, so the whole Board concept wasn’t new to me. I’ve just realised that I have turned 38, but I still think I am youthful. I started the farm in my last 20s, so I feel like I have a good connection with the younger generation and up and comers in the industry. Most importantly, I can represent the small breeders. I have a good affiliation and connection with the small breeders of Victoria, and they make up a lot of our client base here on the farm.