Drakenstein’s May moves to Australia
Drakenstein Stud’s pre-training manager, Jason May (35), is the latest South African to accept a position overseas. He will be joining David Toole’s Kambula Stud, situated in the Yorke Peninsula near Adelaide in Australia.
May has served Drakenstein Stud for 12 years, working mainly with yearlings and he describes his experience as “many happy years in a happy family”. A natural horseman, he honed his skills in the last eight years under top equine behaviour therapist Malan du Toit, who works with the problematic young horses in every season’s bunch.
He said: “Working with Malan has enabled me to expand my knowledge. I have applied what I have learnt successfully here at Drakenstein and will be doing the same at Kambula.”
He grew up in Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, where he rode at five years of age and started breaking in horses as a young boy. “We did it the Cowboy way, the person who could sit on an unbroken horse the longest got R50, and I loved it. We apply scientific skills at Drakenstein, wholly different to the old cattle farm way, and I’ve learnt Malan’s many unique ways of teaching the youngsters.”
A desire to gain experience abroad brought Jason to Kambula over time. He told: “I mailed out my CV’s to places like Arrowfield and Widden in Australia, also to Chris Waller’s stables, but they could not assist at the time. Then I tried to get in touch with trainer Ralph Beckett in the UK, where O’Meara Rusiki and Eric Ngwane found employment. I didn’t get a reply and decided to give my job applications a break.
“Just a while later Kambula contacted me and we sealed a deal. I found out that I’d gotten a letter wrong in Ralph Beckett’s mail address so he never received my CV, but a job in England wasn’t to be. Kambula is not near as big as Drakenstein, but they’re a good and professional outfit and it sounds like Mr Toole urgently needs someone to help him.”
Jason will be leaving for Adelaide next Sunday, his wife Janine and three-year-old daughter will be joining him in six months when matters in South Africa are wrapped. He notes that former South African trainer Gary Alexander and his brother Dean also have contact with Kambula Stud. “Mr Toole has taken a liking to the Alexanders so we may well have a professional relationship in future.”
He concludes: “I want my daughter to grow up with opportunities in Australia. I may come back one day. Mrs Gaynor Rupert has given me her blessing and invited me to return to Drakenstein if I wanted to.”