If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting Hartford House Hotel and Summerhill Equestrian, you will understand what a spectacular place it is. Recently, the farm was bought by renowned farmer and horseman Henning Pretorius. Those in the equestrian world might know Henning as the owner of Capital Stud, who produces some of the best warmblood horses in Africa. His purchasing of Hartford and the stud is something incredibly exciting and, as Mick Goss himself said, exactly what the farm needs.
Originally from Skeerpoort (where Capital Stud is based), Henning Pretorius had been looking for a new property and home for his horses for over four years before he decided to make an offer on Summerhill. His horses are of huge importance to him and their well-being comes first, which was the reason for this move. Skeerpoort has had a number of cases of African horse sickness, whereas KwaZulu-Natal has had very few. Not only is the area safer for the horses, but Summerhill is big enough, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and the existing team on the farm, who Henning has kept on, are strong and skilled at what they do. It was a match made in heaven!
Henning has some exciting plans for Summerhill Equestrian, which will also benefit Hartford House Hotel. Water filtration plants that will provide the horses, houses and hotel with clean drinking water is just one of the improvements that has been implemented already. Proper irrigation has also been put in place, pastures are being prepared and paddock fencing and roads are being fixed to ensure that Summerhill Equestrian will become the best facility for both warmbloods and thoroughbreds. Henning has also appointed a nutritionist for the farm to ensure that the feed for the horses are balanced correctly and that each horse gets the correct nutrients. Veterinarian Dr Manfred Rohwer, with his incredible team from Baker & McVeigh, visits the farm every Wednesday to assist the team at Summerhill Equestrian with the monitoring and care of all their horses.
The School of Equine Management will also continue, and Henning has exciting plans to expand this. Where in the past it mostly included thoroughbred curriculum, going forward it will be developed to also include the warmbloods, providing the students with even more valuable knowledge. Henning and his family have enjoyed spending some time on the farm during the lockdown, and never one to rest on his laurels, Henning has used the time to get to know the ins and outs of Summerhill and identify problems on the farm and work with the team to find solutions. Henning’s passion for his horses is contagious, and his knowledge on breeding warmbloods is inspiring.
With the move to Summerhill Equestrian, he is also planning on getting some thoroughbred mares in the future too, and we are excited to see where this venture will take him. The horses of current clients who are boarding on the farm will be welcome to stay on, allowing them to experience the magic that is to come!
The renowned Hartford House Hotel is also getting some much-needed attention and with Henning’s ideas for this heritage property, alongside his fabulous team, it looks forward to being ready to welcome back guests and weddings as soon as possible.
Originally a vegetable farmer, Henning says that breeding warmbloods is a passion that got a bit out of hand. Anyone who knows him or any of his horses will be grateful for this! He is currently renovating one of the houses on the farm where he will live with his family when he is not in Skeerpoort. As an active person who loves to cycle, we can’t think of a better place for him to call home, surrounded by family, horses and amazing grounds.
We look forward to a new era of Summerhill Equestrian and Hartford House Hotel, and wish Henning all the best as he starts this new journey.
033 263 2713
Hlatikulu Road, Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal