Ashford Stud's Dermot Ryan was named the 2021 Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year Sept. 14 by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club.
Ryan had many qualities the selection committee was looking for when deciding this year's award winner. His longstanding tenure at Ashford Stud overseeing the growth and development of many world-class Thoroughbreds is worth celebrating. Additionally, Ryan has long been a supporter of KTFMC, through donations, involvement in club events, and encouraging participation from other Ashford employees.
With his blessing, Ashford hosted the inaugural KTFMC 5K in 2016 and has expressed interest in hosting again in the future. He has supported other programs such as Kentucky Equine Management Internships by taking students each session and has served on many boards and committees industry-wide.
Ryan grew up in Tipperary, Ireland, about an hour away from Coolmore. He had exposure to horses, thanks to his parents Malachy and Miriam, riding, hunting, and show jumping from a young age. After leaving school, Ryan completed the Irish National Stud course alongside Henry Beeby, John Durkan, Pat Downes, Garrett O'Rourke, Des Dempsey, Nicola Ward, Brendan Gallagher, and John Brady.
From there he went to work at Coolmore at the age of 19. For eight years there he forged lifelong friendships and was mentored by a long list of outstanding individuals, before coming to Coolmore America in December 1992, where he has remained ever since. While in America, Ryan met his wife, Debbie. They married in 1999 and now reside at Ashford Stud. Ryan currently is a director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and is on the board of directors at the Gluck Equine Research Center.
"It has been amazing to see Ashford grow through the vision of John Magnier and his family," Ryan said in a release. "I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a steward of such a wonderful place, to be around such amazing horses, and work with wonderful people. It has been as much of a pleasure seeing young horses progress and go on to be successful as it has been seeing the success of the young people, past and present, that have come through Ashford.
"We have a lot to be grateful for working in such a fantastic industry here in central Kentucky and I am very thankful to all of the breeders who have supported us and have been a great pleasure to work with over the years. I am very humbled and thankful to all at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club for this award."
Principals in Coolmore also expressed delight in seeing Ryan recognized.
"The horses and people at Ashford are always at the forefront of his mind. He is the real deal, and it is a great honor for him to receive this award," said Coolmore's John Magnier. "We are proud to have been associated with him and his family for such a long time. It is very well deserved and comes as no surprise to us."
"It is a great honor to see Dermot receive such a well-deserved award and we are delighted to see that others see what we see on a daily basis," added M.V. Magnier. "We have been very lucky to have him at Coolmore for so long; he is a great guy and if he wasn't in this business, he could have turned his hand to anything."
The KTFMC will honor Ryan as the 2021 Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year at its annual Dinner Dance Dec. 3 at the Grand Reserve in Lexington. Information about the 2021 KTFMC Dinner Dance will be announced at a later time.