The Soul of the Farm
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)
Here you sense the history of Great Ones…
Continuing the extracts from the Summerhill Sires Brochure for 2010/2011. Are you on the mailing list? If not then please let us have your details and we’ll gladly ensure you get a personal copy when it’s published on the 1st August.
“Step into the stud office, with its marble floors, trophy cabinets and Designers’ Guild furnishings and you think, this is the soul of it all. But that distinction belongs to the Stallion Barn.
Here you sense the history of the Great Ones, whose names adorn the honours boards. Here you make the acquaintances of Greig Muir, in his 25th year of service, and the Zumas, whose grandfather “did” Mowgli in the 50’s; their father groomed Sentinel. This place reeks of tradition and horsemanship, and decades of success. The only concession to modern times, is the TV tuned to Tellytrack.
In as old a ritual as the farm itself, all the people that make Summerhill tick, assemble at 6.45am at the stud office. Not long ago, when the farm’s most famous resident, Northern Guest, made his daily way to his paddock, the management gathered on the verandah to pay their respects. He’d paid for most of what you saw around you.
Towards the end, the old horse with his arthritic gait, would announce his presence with a reassuring neigh. He was not about to play the invalid. Like every great stallion, he didn’t look at you, but over and beyond, across the fields of dreams.
“Legend” is a devalued word in sport, yet here, standing before you, was the genuine article. You realise in an instant that this is a place where the Thoroughbred is not only a way of life; it is a reason for living, and a deep pool of sentiment.
Alongside the Stallion Barn is the cemetery, the Heroes’ Acre. You don’t get in here unless you’ve been worshipped by the cult. St Pauls, Mowgli, Magic Mirror, Cape Heath, Panjandrum, Sentinel, Sybil’s Nephew and Masham from a bygone era, and the modern giants Liloy, Home Guard, Northern Guest, Rambo Dancer. There’s not much room left, and you get the feeling that immortality is the only yardstick for induction. Looking at the present line-up though, you’d have to believe there are more than a few live candidates.”