Alec Hogg: Horse Breeding … Interrupted



Alec Hogg: Horse Breeding … Interrupted

Graceland Farm – our piece of paradise is now ready for someone else who needs the healing and nurturing of the KZN Midlands. Image: Alec Hogg

The day I never expected has finally arrived. Today we started the paying forward of our breeding dream.

I pleaded with the TBA and managed to squeak late inclusions into the July 12th KZN Broodmare and Weanling Sale. There’s a sense of finality when you send in a payment committing to the dispersion of a carefully gathered small herd. An appreciation that the decision has been made. Finally.

After five months of mostly living away from Graceland, we’ve now taken the plunge. The sale of our farm has obviously been influenced by the reality of funding a remote breeding operation. But in the end, it came down to an appreciation that to do anything properly, you need to focus. And in this day, that focus had better be laser-like. Or someone else will soon be eating your lunch.

For us it was either Moneyweb, the company I started 15 years ago and am once again running as the CEO; or Graceland Farm, our boutique stud in the lee of the Drakensberg with million dollar views and a neighbour that has been SA’s Champion Breeder for the last seven years.

Were I ten years older, it would surely be no contest. But right now, my priority must lie with Moneyweb. A business I entrusted to others for the past two and a half years. But now its time has come. A time we anticipated for so long. A time of cheap broadband. A time when long-standing partnerships are starting to blossom. A time for it to shine after doing the hard yards for so long.

The irony is that until January when cable thieves put our farm’s soundproof radio studio out of commission, returning to Johannesburg wasn’t even close to the agenda. But after our enforced relocation one thing quickly led to another; the CEO and FD installed when we left for the Midlands have departed and my hand is now firmly on the tiller again. And I’m loving it.

Building up Graceland Farm over the past two years has been a privilege. I thrilled at seeing the fences come up; ploughing in lime from the Far North (because it’s the best); finishing planting of permanent pastures just before the Big Boss turned on the waterworks; putting in 100 trees and tens of thousands worth of flowers and other plants; watching the dam being built; and watching my Jet turn an old barn into an art gallery; a dormitory into a marvellous master bedroom; a farmhouse into a home fit for royalty.

Neither of us are half-measure people. Graceland was going to be our home for the rest of our days. So we worked at it like we meant it because, well, we did mean it. But as we nurtured the farm so too did it nurture us. Tired bodies and minds have been transformed. We returned to the city of gold refreshed, rejuvenated, excited. Ready to take on the world. Again.

A newborn at the time the photo was taken, Roubini is an outstanding Kahal colt, born last year at Graceland Farm.

It is my fervent wish that Graceland’s next inhabitant finds what we did. That its new owner will be someone whose soul needs the tranquillity of the Midlands. Someone who will learn that Winston Churchill knew what he was on about when he said: “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Someone who will be emotionally overcome when a newborn emerges in Graceland’s foaling barn and, minutes later, takes its first steps on wobbly legs. And allow themselves to dream that this will be the Big Horse, the one who conquers the world, the next Frankel, the next Sea Cottage, the next Jet Master. For without those dreams what is life?

If you know someone who fits the bill, please guide them in the right direction. We have entrusted the marketing of our property to the lady who named the place; who 15 years ago turned a bare piece of veld into the beginnings of what is today Graceland’s 30 hectares of pin oaks, fescue, rooigras and horse heaven. You can reach Glynnis Peattie on 082 800 0343, or via email at littleforest@mweb.co.za. She is a horsewoman who happens to have a small estate agency. Couldn’t think of anyone better to handle the passing on of our dream.

Alec Hogg serves as a director on the board of the KZN Breeders Association. KZN Breeders Association wish Alec and Jet well for the future, and we look forward to seeing the exciting foals of Graceland Farm turn into something special when they grace our racetracks.

Read more about Graceland Farm, as well as Alec’s interesting daily blog regarding the happenings of the farm at www.gracelandfarm.co.za


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