The Power Of Communication
(Photo : Nicholas Goss)
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.
“We all have our pursuits in life, and most of them have their rewards. Whatever your walk, you will have done some unusual things, and met some extraordinary people. The horse game is like that too, but in the horizons it reaches, it boxes well above its fighting weight.”
Most of us reach a point in our careers, where we want to attempt the thing we’ve talked about most of our lives, but couldn’t because of the demands of our work. Of course, it doesn’t take long to realise you’re not going to be a novelist or a pop singer. But with horses, and we mean racehorses, there is the allure of a universal attraction, a sport which spans the divides of society, from one end of the world to the next, and a game we can all play, somehow or other.
At Summerhill, the word “universal” means what it says. Horses, and horses alone, have introduced us to the rulers of countries, to dinner with the Queen of England, to ministers of state and to captains of sport and industry, and to many with our own less-than-patrician beginnings, for whom the sport of horseracing has meant the opportunity to run with the big dogs, without having to play dead.
Summerhill today, as much through the desperation that drove us in the late 1980’s as it was for their love of Africa, is home to the horses of customers across twenty time zones, from Japan to the Americas, Hong Kong to the United Kingdom, Australia to Ireland, Dubai to Germany, France and all of the racing nations of Africa. In a sentence, it is home to more foreign-owned thoroughbreds than any other property in the world.
Horses and human beings go back a long, long way. Our histories were written on their backs. There is a deep and sentimental affinity between people and horses, irresistible to just about anyone who’ll give it a chance. There is a therapy in the relationship that only those that know its affliction, can speak to. This meant we had a responsibility at Summerhill. A responsibility to ensure that our clients were as close to their horses as we could make them, so that the oceans across which they live, were of little account.
A visit to Summerhill is, in many respects, a journey into a bygone era. The history, the traditions, the ancient landscape are light years away from modern technology. Some of us still don’t know how to turn a computer on, and there’s always the temptation to rely on the intoxication of Africa to keep people interested. But Summerhill had a different vision. The mark of an innovator is to take its people from where they were, to where they’ve never been. We put ourselves in our customers’ shoes, and we gave them everything we believed we couldn’t do without. In a word, we took them where no-one had ever been. We turned a moment into a movement.
Today, Summerhill and its story-telling site (http://blog.summerhill.co.za) is the most visited web address in racehorse breeding. In the world.
Understand, we know what it is to be a customer, and especially a customer in the horse business. That also means that there are secrets between us and our customers, that only they can reach. And which as a customer yourself, opens another world to you.
We’ve pioneered the understanding of the power of communication, and the fact that horseracing spans the globe. Our information has to do the same. It doesn’t matter anymore what futurists predict or what fashion editors edict, the ones spending the money rule today. The keepers of the old gates have been knocked over by the new social media.