The Thoroughbred Racehorse - Hot-blooded Young Creatures
(Photo : Greig Muir)
“All we can do, once the best laid plans have been put to rest,
is pray a lot and hope for the best.”
Summerhill CEOThere is no enterprise in the world which succeeds without a bit of the rub of the “green”. No matter what kind of genius you may be, how revolutionary your invention, you still need to be at the right place at the right time. History reminds us of the great gold and diamond discoveries, of the railway revolution that changed the face of America, that Bill Gates was fortunate to grow up near a university that encouraged schoolboys to use its facilities, and there was a good deal of luck in the timing of our ventures at Summerhill. In due course, the desperation that came from this country’s isolation and our need to find new markets for our racehorses, just happened to coincide with the release of Nelson Mandela, which meant it was South Africa’s “time”, and Summerhill’s solicitation of the English gentry on the eve of this momentous event was a “game-changer” for us. “Carpe diem” says the Kearsney College motto “seize the day” said Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, and we did just that. A few years earlier or a decade or two later, and these opportunities might have passed many of their beneficiaries by.
Over the years, we’ve penned a few ideas on the breeding of racehorses, and while we’ll continue the series of articles we started a couple of weeks back, we should allow ourselves to ponder for a moment on the role luck plays in the fortunes of our endeavours. We all know that the stockman’s eye and his instincts are indispensable in the consistent production of good horses, but we know too, that no two individuals resulting from the union of the same stallion and the same mare, will be exactly the same. We know that for all the care and environmental advantages we have in raising a horse, who gets to train it, where it’s trained, and what opportunities it’s given, is beyond our control, and that because we’re dealing in flesh and blood, we remember too, that accidents do happen. This is especially so with a hot-blooded young creature, whose forte is speed, whose will is to run, and whose superstructure can be brittle.
All we can do, once the best laid plans have been put to rest, is pray a lot and hope for the best. Much has been said on this topic by much wiser and more learned people than myself over the years, and it’s worth quoting a few of these. We’ll entertain you with a short quote day-by-day going forward.
“Any man who has the price can become the owner of a great racehorse. But many a man has spent the greater part of a lifetime trying to breed one - and has not succeeded. Many persons suppose that this is because he has just been unlucky, for they consider that luck is the main factor for breeding, just as they suppose that it is the main factor in racing. That luck enters into both racing and breeding is indisputable. But that it governs either, is a mistaken idea. In the long run it is merely incidental”.
- Salvator quoted by John F. Wall, Breeding Thoroughbreds.