Hold onto your horses and your cowboy hat! Australian horseman Dan Steers and his talented horse, Double Image, are flying in from New South Wales to wow the Equidays crowd next month.
Steers, a world-renowned horse trainer, equine educator and entertainer from Double Dan Horsemanship, will be at the Mystery Creek Event Centre from October 14 to 16 for Equidays. He will teach a series of clinics and appear at the Saturday Nightshow with Double Image.
It is the first time that Equidays has specifically brought an international horse over for the event, and Steers couldn’t be more excited.
“It’s going to be great to be able to demonstrate with him at the clinics, and he will play a starring role in the Saturday Nightshow,” said Steers. “Double Image is an elite competition horse and has won multiple awards in stock horse, challenge and reining. When we use him at clinics it’s a good way to show people what to expect if they put in the training.”
Double Image started with Steers as a two-year-old, and is now 12, and a superstar in the horse world. “He has performed all around Australia – Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney – and he has also featured in Australia’s Got Talent,” said Steers.
Steers has passion for breaking and training horses, and loves to share his knowledge with the public. “You can ask 1000 different horsemen the secret to breaking in a horse, and you will get 1000 different answers,” said Steers. “To me it’s about preparation. It’s about breaking things down and teaching in steps. When people see a horse like Double Image, they see the end goal. It’s important to put in the work and go through the steps, so when you put your foot in the stirrups and get on a horse, he knows what to do.”
He will appear at three two-hour clinics at Equidays and will demonstrate ‘colt starting’, which involves breaking in a young horse that has never been ridden before. “Most times people will send away horses for breaking in, so they don’t get to see the process,” said Steers. “Ninety per cent of people there are just there for the enjoyment of it, but about 10 per cent might be thinking they’d like to have a crack at it – so it’s educational to see the process.”
Steers will also demonstrate ‘pathway to liberty’. This involves working with a horse that is free of restraints – no bridles or reins. “It looks easy but it’s not,” said Steers. “You have to be able to read that horse mentally and physically, and think about how you reward them, and try and connect with them so they think your ideas are their ideas.”
Steers wasn’t born into the horsing life. He lived in the city but fell in love with horses as a teenager when he went trail riding on a school camp at 14. While still in his teens he began working for master farriers and trainers, and over the next decade Steers became a skilled and well respected horseman, winning awards and conducting regular horsemanship clinics.
In 2008 he joined forces with friend Dan James and in 2009 the pair relocated to New South Wales, and Double Dan Horsemanship was born.
Steers, 32, lives in Tamworth – a place he called “the cowboy capital of Australia”, about five hours north of Sydney. He lives on 120 acres with his wife and two young children.
The two Dans travel the world, educating and entertaining at equine events. “It’s work and it’s what I love, but it’s hectic at times,” said Steers. “It’s a passion and I’m lucky to do what I love.”
Steers last attended Equidays in 2010, with James, and the duo loved the friendly vibe and great hospitality. “I’m really looking forward to being back in New Zealand and to meet everyone at Equidays.”
Like much of Equidays Double Dan Horsemanship is about education through entertainment. “We keep things fun and fresh and we try to capture and entertain everyone, even those people who are not into horses,” said Steers. “It’s really rewarding when our shows and clinics are well received.”
Tickets to the Saturday Nightshow are close to selling out, with less than 300 tickets left. For more information on Equidays see www.equidays.co.nz For more on Dan Steers see this link.
MEET DAN STEERS AND DOUBLE IMAGE
Dan Steers and Double Image will be at Cambridge’s Victoria Square on Wednesday October 12 for Equidays Activation, a free public demonstration, along with the Wilson Sisters. Fans will get a taste of Equidays, with the chance to meet their equine heroes and see them perform, between 3.15pm and 4.15pm.