Drakensberg uKhahlamba Mountain Range
(Photo : Nicholas Goss)
…AND NOTHING BUT MOTHER NATURE
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.
“Time was, when we changed the way we were doing things, that people thought we were tilting at windmills. Six championships later, there are more than a few disciples these days, including some of the world’s leading stud farms.
For us though, there was no choice. You see, we’ve always been rich in energy and ideas at Summerhill, but we were never rich in the one commodity that really mattered in breeding; cash. So no matter that some might’ve thought we were talking to fairies a dozen years ago, all we were doing, was taking control of the areas of our business we knew we had the talent to control, and trying to manage those better than most.
Where Mother Nature was in charge, our upbringings told us to make her our partner. Nature has plenty of patience, and in the end she will always get her way. We quickly sensed that the crust of the earth was a vast museum, entombed with the history of all of mankind, and rich in the secrets of our being. This elusive truth was the key to our rise to the mountain top.
Understanding the land, the climate, the people, the animals and plants of the kingdom, was the first fundamental. Getting inside the heads of our horses was another.
It is heartening to see the Zulus maintaining their ancient connection with the earth. Ours is a land inherited long ago by the Zulus from the first people, the Bushmen, together with all its stories. Who better then, than the First People to explain our early beginnings, the wonders of our valleys, our great thunderstorms and the natural elixirs that conspire to make this the finest stock country on earth?
If there’s been a constant in our three decades at Summerhill, it’s been sticking to the truth of our roots. Ever since, we’ve set out to make horses happy, pandering to their herd instincts, letting them run outside wherever possible, remembering they are creatures of habit. That they have remarkable memories, that despite their intelligence, like their cousins in the wild, they display little reasoning in the face of danger. And that some traditions, like an hour’s grooming, might not be every horse’s cup of tea.
Racehorses made the Summerhill way, tell the story of their upbringings in a complex and compelling style. Every day, on the racecourses of the world, our horses capture the personality of their origins through all the associations of place, the landscape, the history, the architecture, the character of the soils and the people, and the mystical conjecture of what makes a great one. They never leave any doubt, they are creatures you can form long-standing relationships with, particularly in the regularity with which they visit the winner’s box.
So you see, it is so. Those that are true to their roots and to those around them, don’t just survive. They thrive.”