The stud staff of our farms are really the back bone of the industry, they are hands-on horsemen and women, assisting in foaling, raising yearlings for the sales and making sure that the objective of raising healthy racehorses is reached.
Many of our staff have been in the industry and worked at the same farms for 20 – 40 years, having come through the ranks and learnt horse care and sales preparation from more senior staff. When it comes to horses, there is no substitute for hands-on experience and many of our staff have probably forgotten more than the rest of us know. This knowledge, patience and true love of horses is what makes our stud farm staff invaluable in the Thoroughbred breeding industry.
Very tragically, we’ve recently lost three staff members, travelling back to the Cape from our National Yearling Sale in Johannesburg. These men were an integral part of the Moutonshoek Team.
While Nico Ockhuis and Andreas Swarts were younger members of the team, Karel Skirmaans had been in the industry for over 35 years and had been foreman and leader of the team at Moutonshoek for 15 years. Not only was Karel a tutor and mentor to the stud staff, he was also a pastor in his free time and was raising and supporting 5 foster children, as well as his own two girls.
A fund has been set up through the TAG foundation which is administered by Johnny Gerber, to help continue supporting these families.
All support will be greatly appreciated and any donations should be clearly marked Grooms Fund, for correct allocation.
TAG Foundation 075-269 NPO
Account # 4070723624