“A seasonal or longer internship at Summerhill is unlike most in the world.”
(Photo : Kayleigh Leisegang)
The Thoroughbred industry is part of an extremely well established global trade. This must be one of the industries with the greatest potential for international travel for a young person. You have people travelling the sales circuit from one country to another, and others working 6 month breeding seasons on opposite sides of the equator, on a regular basis. It’s not only about the work, but also experiencing the cultures, traditions and environments of all these countries. With horses, it barely matters what language you speak, because the skills you need are universal and the most important attribute is passion. Singularly, passion is the only language.
Besides the fact that Summerhill has sent its employees from the previously disadvantaged community on more than 32 overseas trips, we also offer opportunities for young people to work here. This has provided us with some exceptional seasonal help over the past 10 years, provided by locals and people from abroad. Thoroughbred racing is a diverse profession, and spending time on a world class stud such as Summerhill, you are not only exposed to stud work, but also get a glimpse on so many facets of the racing world.
Our interns of the past include:
Mick is from County Louth in Ireland and spent several months in 2006 working at Summerhill. He has worked at a variety of the top studs in the world including Coolmore America, Haras du Logis and Haras de la Louviere in France. Currently a second year intern on the Darley Flying Start course, Mick is doing a 5 week placement with Mike De Kock in Dubai.
“My time at Summerhill was one of the most enjoyable times in my life so far. What a team and what an environment for a horse to grow up in. I was afforded lots of hands on experience during my couple of months at Summerhill moving from morning management meetings to stallions, to yearlings, to broodmares and trackscavators!” “I learned so much about the South African bloodstock industry while at Summerhill and it is definitely a place where I will be spending more of my time in the not so distant future.”
After finishing a year and a half internship at Sequel Stallions in New York, South African born and bred Douw worked two seasons at Summerhill as assistant broodmare manager. He then did the internationally renowned Irish National Stud course and is currently working for Arrowfield Stud in Australia.
Claire came to us as the top graduate of her year at the Irish National Stud course, after previously having worked at Lord And Lady Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud in Hampshire. After finishing a season at Summerhill, Claire returned to her native France, and is studying Animal Science at Paris Diderot University.
Another Irishman, Declan initially started his career as a banker and then swopped it for the greener pastures of Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud in England. Shadwell’s 20 year association with Summerhill led to Declan coming here last season. He worked as Assistant Foal Manager at Summerhill in the 2008 foaling season, our biggest seasons yet, with 245 mares foaling down. After completing his season at Summerhill, Declan is currently working at Juddmonte Farms (our Broodmare Manager, Annet Becker, is another Juddmonte graduate) in America, after which he will do a season in Australia.
“I learnt a great deal from my time at Summerhill and it was wonderful being part of such a successful team with a great attitude to working hard. I would encourage anyone to spend a season there as it is the most rewarding and worthwhile experience”, says Declan.
A seasonal or longer internship at Summerhill is unlike most in the world. The experience you get here in all the different aspects of horse management, from treating sick horses, evaluating young stock, staff management, client relations to sales prep and breeze ups, is a lot more challenging than in most other countries of the world, mainly because the level of responsibility is much greater. Interns are not simply used as labourers, but are introduced to the demands of management. It involves long hours and is not for the fainthearted. Accommodation on the farm and a living allowance are provided.