Greig MuirGreig MuirGreig came to South Africa on holiday from Ireland some 22 years ago, and decided to make a working stint of it, joining Summerhill as a seasonal assistant to Anton Proctor for the 1985 breeding season. He returned the following year to do the same and has been here ever since. There’s hardly a place on the horse-side-business that Greig hasn’t touched upon, but for the last decade and more he has principally been in charge of the stallions on the farm. Under his stewardship have been the colossi Champion sires Northern Guest, Liloy and Home Guard, while the only American Classic winner to set foot on these shores, Coastal, was another from the early years. Since then, Greig has piloted the careers of multiple Champion Juvenile Sire National Emblem, Stallion of the Year finalist and Champion Freshman Sire, Fard, three of the top nine sires on the general sires log this past season, Rambo Dancer, Muhtafal and Kahal, as well as runner- up Champion Freshman Sire Albarahin. He is presided over no fewer than seven Stallion Prospects of the Year.

Right now, Greig has all the stallions in good work, preparing them for the forthcoming breeding season, where they will be serving something of the order of 20% of the Southern African broodmare band. Included in his preparation rituals at this time of the year is a special regiment for a couple of the stallions who are especially “photo” sensitive, and who need to be led to believe that summer is upon us. They are under lights at this time of year, being fed on “green” feed, and in several ways, their treatment simulates that of a maiden mare.

This ensures they will start to generate live sperm in advance of when nature would ordinarily decree it, (it takes between 60 & 70 days to produce viable sperm), and horses, in keeping with animals in other kingdoms, generally enter a period of anoestrus (when they no longer make the same quality sperm during the off-season, i.e. the winter months). Some horses need a special stimulus to get them going again in preparation for what is an artificially manipulated early season.

Greig is also in charge of the stabling facilities, certain aspects of the fencing (the specialized stuff), the building of water troughs, stone bridges etc and for this aspect of his business, he uses the services of a fellow with Bushman orgins in the form of John Gcalekha, a talented stonemason, who is currently erecting stone troughs in various paddocks including the smallest camps where the foals and mares are housed for the first fortnight after foaling.