We’re lucky to live where we do. So many people have told us so, and looking around us, we think they’re right.
We see it everyday on our way to work, and we’re reminded of it regularly when the banter begins. It isn’t known as the Land of Legends for nothing.
A mare and foal grazing below The GiantOne of the great stories belongs to the tiny amaHlube tribe, who sought the refuge of the buttresses of Giant’s Castle as long ago as 1816, under threat of their lives from the Zulu King, Shaka. Despite their diminutive numbers, their own moment of greatness was not too long away, with the arrival of the Colonial army some sixty years later. A punitive expedition against their Chieftain, Langalibalele (“the Sun Burns”), led by the same Colonel Durnford of Isandlwana fame, ended in disaster. And while the Brits contributed more than once to the greatest military moments in the histories of several nations, this one should never have happened.
The only “Chieftain” to suffer the ignominy of retreat in the Langalibalele action, was the trusty steed of the same good Colonel, Durnford. Not that we’ve any problem with the idea of being British, by the way: we have it in our own veins, as well as a great many of our horses, we must confess. We’re just telling it the way it was.
Another legend of our own time manages the Summerhill Farm office. This one was here the day the gates opened, when the office was just a part of the passage in the old farmhouse. Yes, the same farmhouse built by the Deputy Prime Minister, old Colonel Richards, the one that housed the Royal Family.
This is the daughter-in-law of the legend that bred every great horse that ever deserved a mention among the legends that made Hartford the greatest thoroughbred nursery of its era. She is the same legend that last season single-handedly sold something like 20% of all the stallion seasons traded in South Africa. She’s the voice behind the telephone the world has come to know as Linda Norval. Celebrity, champion, institution.
Like the rest of the team, she’s come to appreciate the enormity of a third Breeder’s Championship. She didn’t just appreciate it though: she’s one of those that made it. With all it’s thrills and spills, she’s lived it, and like the rest of us, she’ll never forget it.
But she’s also one of those that’s never forgotten where we all come from. There are no short cuts to the top. Blood, sweat and sacrifice are the DNA of champions, and the day after the celebrations end, she’ll be back at work. Ahead of time, as usual.
Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2007/2008