In the almost 30 years since Summerhill has come under its current stewardship, this past winter was arguably the third driest on record, and whilst we don’t expect much moisture from April through September, (when we enjoy some of the most marvellous autumnal and winter days anywhere), the rains stopped early this past summer and delayed their return in any quantity until the very end of September. Such is Mother Natures' was that, in the wilds, until the advent of the rains which signal the onset of the season of abundance, animals somehow manage to hold events such as calving or foaling and the like, while seeds remain ensconced in dormancy, secure in the knowledge that their purpose will only be fulfilled when the triggering mechanism dictates.

Equally, horses in work and growing yearlings seem to take on an entirely new lease of life when the rains come, and everything seems to turn. Maiden and barren mares are suddenly prompted to cycle regularly, those that’ve been holding onto their foals for weeks, suddenly drop them (we had six foals on Friday evening,) and horses in work sprout wings. Dapples manifest as rosettes on the coats of racehorses at this time of year, roses, flowering cherries and it seems every other conceivable flower springs forth, and we know now we’re in the beginning stages of a glorious African summer.