Annet is the farm’s Broodmare and FoalCare Manager, but she also has under her responsibility last year’s foals (just turned yearlings) until the Ready To Run sale is behind us, at which point these horses are taken over by Tarryn Liebenberg and Michael Booysen. Annet plays a pivotal role in the intellectual side of our business as well, stimulating discussion on such issues as strategy, direction and promoting changes in the way we operate. Such is the energy of youth that the exuberance sometimes needs a little tempering with the wisdom that comes only with age (those of us that fall into the latter category like to think this is necessary, if only to maintain relevance in the affairs of the business!).
Annet came to us following her graduation from Ondersterpoort Veterinary School, and a three year stint with one of the great farms of the world, Juddmonte, in the United States, and she has brought an important dimension to our business. Her assistants include Richard Hlongwane (who inherited the yearling prep responsibility from the Mbanjwa family some seven or eight seasons ago), and already has some 15 years experience under his belt with yearlings, (Richard is a graduate of our international scholarship programme), while Thulani Mnguni (who has the broodmares as his responsibility and attends to all the teasing,) knows every single mare on the farm intimately. He is another graduate of a stint at Sheikh Hamdan’s Derrinstown Stud in Ireland.
Douw Coetzee, another of Annet’s assistants has just recently returned from the United States following a three year stint with Becky Thomas’ Lakland Farms (famed for their Ready To Run sales consignments in the States), among many other things. Douw’s family have long been associated with ex Minister of Agriculture, Hendrik Schoeman and his massive farming enterprise near Heidelberg in the Eastern Transvaal, and he came to us as an accomplished endurance rider.
Apart from caring for something of the order of 180 yearlings, Annet’s responsibilities right now keep her desperately busy as the foals have started to come in numbers, and she is a touch behind with the dissemination of our panel’s mating recommendations for all the mares on the farm, not to mention those belonging to the multitude of outside clients who wish to visit the stallions.
As pressured as Annet is to get the on-the-farm customers mating profiles concluded, for every one she completes, she gets another request from outside, and it’s the Devil’s own task to get over the present hump. Not that she’s complaining, as she knows this generates business for the stallion division, and as the busiest stallion division of its kind on the continent, keeping it there demands extraordinary dedication, not to mention ingenuity.
Of course, it hasn’t helped that we released the new Sire’s brochure this week, as that in itself, coupled with the results at the Emperor’s Palace Two Year Old sale, has stimulated further interest in the stallions, generating additional work for this girl. However, if she didn’t have broad shoulders and one of the quickest minds on the property, we’d be feeling sorry for her, but she gives as good as she gets. She tells us she should have the back of this mammoth undertaking behind her early next week.