SCHOOL OF EQUINE MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE
Summerhill Stud, South Africa
Heather MorkelOver the past few years, a seemingly conventional set of circumstances have ignited some life-changing events among a deserving group of young people: a Thoroughbred breeder and farmer has a dream and builds a new adult educational facility, based on the farm in Mooi River. Good men and women from across the world visit, donating their time, expertise, wisdom and, of course, the old world-turner, money, in the form of scholarships. And our heroes and heroines emerge from the ranks of South African horsemen and women.
In the hurly burly of life we often overlook the transformation of the ordinary becoming the extraordinary.
Top students and Childwick Trust Scholarship recipients of 2013-14, John Motaung and Megan Trott, departed for Britain’s National Stud on Saturday, courtesy of a generous double scholarship from Trustees Anthony Cane, John Wood and Karen Groom. Like Thabani Nzimande, top student, scholarship recipient and Best Practical Student in the UK in 2011, John began his career at Summerhill as a stable cleaner and groom. His ability to nurture and guide young equine athletes through handling and his natural talent as a workrider, saw him move through the ranks within Tarryn Liebenberg and Michael Booysen’s competitive Pre-Training and Sales division at Summerhill - John pre-trained Vodacom Durban July and J&B Met winner IGUGU. Recognition for his talent and dedication followed, and he was awarded two scholarships through Summerhill’s pioneering international internship programme, where among others he worked for renowned pinhooker and bloodstock agent, Becky Thomas in Florida, USA. As Strings Manager here at Summerhill, the division was hard-pressed to send John “back to school” last year, but the rewards have been immeasurable.
Megan Trott (so apt a surname for her chosen career!) has dreamt about working with horses all her young life, and as her family could not afford tertiary education to facilitate her ambitions, she has spent the last three years working seasonally as “prep cook” at the Boca West Country Club in Florida, saving every dollar for her goal of attending the School of Equine Management Excellence. She joined the Class of 2013 and simply excelled, impressing everyone with her work ethic and passion for all things equine.
It has been an extraordinary “third season” for the school, where scholarship funders CATHSSETA, Childwick Trust, Gold Circle, Investec, Cape Thoroughbred Breeders and sponsors N3TC made the awarding of 5 international scholarships (half the class), possible this year.
Our best wishes to John and Megan, who have crossed continents in the name of horses, and a successful National Stud Diploma course in 2014.