greig and devon and james muirGreig Muir with twins Devon and James at Giant’s Castle

Nature plays a primary role in nurturing youth to achieve success and we have been privileged to witness the arrival and growth of a new crop of youngsters this year, many of whom are about to take a “big step out” on their own as they are weaned from their mothers to become individuals. Mother Nature herself will continue to shape their futures, providing them with rigorous challenges along the way, as they are molded into champions to follow the previous generations on the turf.

Summerhill’s nurturing role in nature has existed for over a century and can largely be attributed to the foresight of the last Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of the Colony of Natal before Union, Sir Frederick Moor and Colonel Richards, whose agricultural principles established what was to become NCD Dairies and the Eskort Bacon factory, which today represent the biggest dairy and meat processing businesses on the Continent of Africa. The intensification and expansion of modern day farming practices threatened the biodiversity of the farm and Summerhill’s allegiance to organic farming practices has reaped rewards. Colonel Richards established a historically famous herd of cattle on Summerhill and today the same breed of cattle has achieved awards at provincial level. From the 40’s, the all conquering Ellis silks carried off every major prize on the South African Racing Calendar, whilst today internationally renowned homebreds have earned four consecutive Champion Breeders awards for the farm, as Seth Hancock once said “these are the kind of stories that stir the imagination”

The natural environment that is Summerhill provides the ideal holistic nursery for growing stock; it also provides a home for a stallion barn which is the showcase for some of the finest thoroughbreds in the southern hemisphere. Stallion manager Greig Muir arrived in South Africa almost a quarter of a century ago, and reminiscent of Seth Hancock’s line, he married childhood friend Michele and took up accommodation in what was Colonel Richards stockman’s house, soon to be christened “the Convent”, under which roof twins James and Devon were born. From the Colonels stately homestead itself, did their education commence in an environment perfect for developing youth and enquiring minds; it culminated in the achievement of Academic Colours at the close of their 10th year at Treverton College this year. Congratulations to James and Devon on the attainment this award.

All great pedigree pundits argue the origin of talent, be it the “get” of the sire or dam, Lady Josephine or Pocahontas, we all must remind ourselves that less than 2% of stallions make great sires, either way, congratulations must go to the proud parents as well.

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