We are delighted to have been able to acquire a farm with more than 135 years of thorough bred race horse heritage. Big Sky Ranch (formerly known as the Gary Player Horse Stud) was founded by the Ellis family in 1883 as a horse stud. The Ellis family bred numerous champions and stud book dynasties on the farm including Prestisimo, Hey Presto, Magic Charm, Magic Link, Mowgli, Lavonia, Pussmoth, Preston Pam and Pipes of Pam.
Gary Player acquired the farm in 1974. His personal involvement with the stud and winning philosophy produced Creator, My Advantage, Amajuba, Kadarko, Foreign Source, World Over, Foolish Pride, Kazatka and Pinehurst to name a few.
The choice of the estate near Colesberg has proved to be a master stroke for all that have owned it. The quality of its breeding stock over the years has become acknowledged by the increasingly selective and sophisticated South African and international thoroughbred market.
For the past couple of years, under the stewardship of Greg Morris, the farm has undergone a tremendous upgrade. Buildings and stables have been modernised to meet the modern breeders aspirations. The veld and associated farm lands are all going through a revitalisation program and the operation has diversified to include an Nguni Stud. The introduction of cattle is a key element needed for the veld restoration program the farm has adopted.
Thorough bred race horse breeding remains a key element of the farms operation and whilst this has been downscaled significantly, horses and the breeding thereof will always be at the "heart" of our farming operation.
Natural Karoo veld is renowned for its rich trace elements and high calcium content, ideal for growing strong boned and resilient animals.
The extreme climate is perfect for breeding racehorses - The cold kills off parasites and the warmth is essential for proper growth.
Meet The Team
Greg and Leanne
""It has long been understood that the “sweet veld” areas of South Africa are perfect for breeding horses. These include small pockets of Gauteng (e.g. Standerton), large parts of North West Province, starting west of Potchefstroom and continuing to the other side of Kimberley, and then finally large parts of the Eastern Province, really meaning the Karoo.
Of course “sweet veld” implies calcium rich ground and includes the mineral rich borehole water that is available in these areas.
Historically, the Thoroughbreds that were bred in these areas were tougher, sounder and lasted longer than horses bred in “sour veld” areas. This applies especially to Thoroughbreds that went into sports such as eventing, dressage and show jumping.
The availability of Big Sky Ranch (formerly Gary Players’s Thoroughbred Stud Farm) is very exciting and important to the equestrian scene. Situated near Colesburg, bang in the middle of old, good horse breeding country, it is the perfect farm for raising horses, both for racing and for all other sport horses. It is a sweet veld ranch; will experience little or no African Horse Sickness, and boasts ideal weather conditions. Very cold night time temperatures in winter significantly reduce parasite issues as well as viruses. Excellent quality hay and Lucerne is always available.
The farm has been beautifully renovated and is professionally managed. It is central to most South Africans and near enough to highways to be completely accessible. All in all an ideal place for your young horse to grow out, or the perfect place to keep your special broodmare."
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Guest House Manager
Being the daughter of John Slade, a very well known horse breeder, Catherine grew up on a horse stud. In her adult years, she worked on the super yachts for 6 years, gaining valuable knowledge and insight into the hospitality industry. As guest house manager, Catherine ensures all guests have the best time at Big Sky Ranch, being surrounding by nature and peace.
Lottie has been an integral part of the farm for the last 8 years, with many years of horse experience. As driver for the Gary Player Stud he transported all the horses for the stud. He is Jacques’ right hand man and is always willing to help anywhere he can.
All staff have been with the late Gary Player Stud farm and all come with many years of horse experience, both in breeding and prepping for sales.
We are always very happy to answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us on any of the numbers below.
Catherine Slade | Accommodation & Bookings | firstname.lastname@example.org | 072 778 3756