Linda NorvalLinda NorvalThis girl has been in the news quite a bit of late, with an entire double page spread of the new Summerhill brochure dedicated to her (have you placed your name on the mailing list yet?) Linda is the Stud Office Manager responsible for all the farm’s “PR”, all horse-related administration (including Jockey Club registrations, the naming of horses, Premium Fund registrations, claims and the like), and at this time of the year, she is beavering away with stallion bookings, contracts etc. Before we deal in the detail of her “day job” at this time of year, we should also mention that Linda is a director of Natal Breeders Inc., and serves as Summerhill’s representative on the board of this important body.

Linda’s day starts before most of ours, and her taillights can be seen disappearing from her home in the dark of every morning, as she winds her way in the direction of Giant’s Castle to the farm office, where she prepares for the morning management meeting which starts at 6:45 am.

Carol NdimandeCarol NdimandeLinda manages the daily and weekly meeting agendas and chairs our weekly management meetings, and then at every morning meeting, she deals with the “action” issues that accrue from it. Her assistant Carol Ndimande is the receptionist in Linda’s office, and actually does the registration work under Linda’s direction, thus providing Linda with the space to get on with the stallion bookings and the daily contributions to the website.

She is famed around the world for the fact that she single-handedly books something of the order of 20-22% of the Southern African broodmare band to the stallions every year, and then co-ordinates their covering throughout the season. This is obviously a Herculean task, involving not only a great deal of diplomacy, salesmanship and organization, but also dedication way beyond the call of duty.

Summerhill Farm OfficeSummerhill Farm OfficeAs much as she gets to work before the sun rises, she also very seldom leaves before it sets, particularly through the breeding season, and while she is about all of this, she gets on and organizes all the functions at Summerhill, including entertaining guests just about every day (365/12) for lunches, teas etc in the farm office. She also has the responsibility of organizing the annual KZN Breeders Awards function, which involves a considerable amount of work and co-ordination, and which, after the Summerhill Stallion Day (also her baby for close on 550 people), ranks as the second biggest bash of the breeding year.

Linda started out at Summerhill almost as soon as the gates opened, well over 25 years ago, and while she left us for a “sabbatical” at one stage, (she actually deserted us for a man!) she found life away from Summerhill dull. About six years ago we dispatched a team to Pretoria to fetch her when we heard she might consider a return and she has been with us ever since. She is a tower of power within the organization, and is the pivot around which the horse operation revolves.