David Hepburn-Brown (Owner and General Manager)
David has grown up with horses both in the sense of equestrian expertise and as a hands-on professional rising through the ranks to farm ownership and quality production.
David and Wendy pictured with our grooms (L-R) Ashley Fredericks, Cheslin Steenkamp and Emile Fredericks who successfully completed their Equine Studies modules at Elsenberg College A successful showjumping and eventing rider including Provincial representation, David worked as a teenager at the Kenilworth racecourse starting stalls and later served as a Stipendiary Steward there for seven years. Always maintaining that understanding of and empathy with horses in training, David moved to the Hemel ‘n Aarde Valley to manage a small stud named Four Seasons where he produced a number of winners for the stud owners. Then for seven years, teamed with breeder and successful owner Ken Truter, he managed High Season Stud incorporating the Four Seasons land.
High Season - twice ranked third in the country for most winners produced - had as its flag bearer extraordinaire JAY PEG, South Africa’s highest money earner ever, an International Grade 1 winner and one of the highest rated horses in the World. The Stud stood two leading freshman sires in Casey Tibbs and Camden Park, the former being sold together with High Season Stud and the latter sadly died young.
When High Season was sold, David acquired extensive adjacent land – previously leased – and continued on the Four Seasons land as well, developing the high profile and successful operation that is today’s Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud.
David is married to renowned veterinarian Dr Sandy Waddingham (see below). The couple has also been highly successful in breeding humans, having two successful adult daughters – who are also accomplished equestrians.
Dr Sandy Waddingham (Owner and Consultant Veterinarian)
Sandy is known for many aspects of veterinary science and management but above all, for putting herself out time and time again in the care of all animals and the people who come to her for help.
Sandy is senior partner in her very busy practice – Hermanus Animal Hospital – as well as forming a successful partnership with David on their farm and as racehorse owners together. Having been involved with horses all her life, Sandy’s contribution is immense both hands-on and as a director/consultant helping to ensure that the daily stud vet duties are carried out to high standards.
Sandy is also a homeopathic practitioner studying for her doctorate along with keeping abreast of and in some cases ahead of bang up to date global veterinary techniques.
Wendy Hvidsten (Farm Manager)
Wendy personifies the work-ethic that characterises Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud. She has the knack of encouraging staff members to follow her lead. Coming into stud farming from another profession by joining Hemel ‘n Aarde in 2011, Wendy was nevertheless an experienced equestrian through competitive riding and related horse care.
The speed with which she translated that grounding into stud farming expertise is demonstrated by her appointment as Farm Manager in mid 2012, reporting to David, and her development as a recognised industry practitioner in subsequent years. Day to day management of mares and young stock is complemented by supervising the showing of sales consignments, amounting to very strong support for David and Sandy in all aspects of farm operations.