Top Talent

Top Talent

This year we have scoured the country for top talent entries and selected finalists to receive one-on-one training with none other than international and renowned clinician and performer Dan Steers.  Five finalists have been chosen to perform in Saturday’s Equitainment Extravaganza Nightshow in the NRM & McMillan indoor arena at Equidays 2019. We will be documenting their journey along the way so you can keep up with their progress and support your favourite performer when they take to the arena to compete for the title and be crowned the winner of Equidays Top Talent 2019.

The winner will walk away with the title of ‘2019 Equidays Top Talent Winner’, and an impressive prize pool worth over $3,000.


Top Talent is designed to educate and nurture future equine performers from around New Zealand. Our diverse equine industry has many talented performers and trainers who are waiting to be discovered. Equidays believes in supporting performers across all ages and disciplines to discover their talents and showcase them on the equine stage!

Abbey Hewlett

Hometown: Reporoa
Horse name: Sweetpea
Performance name: A day in the office

Abbey’s sidekick miniature horse Sweetpea came into her life when Abbey was nine as an attempt from her parents to quench her love of horses, but instead it fuelled it! Abbey now has four wonderful horses, two of which shes events at 80cm and 95cm, one who she broke in herself and is training and of course Sweetpea.

Sweetpea is now five years old, she’s very impatient and has a big personality but she is very smart and catches onto things very quickly. She doesn’t let Abbey’s other horses’ boss her around!

After watching a couple of her friends enter Equidays Top Talent, Abbey thought it looked really fun and is looking forward to giving it a go and giving Sweetpea the chance to perform in front of a large crowd. Their routine at Equidays will reflect all the tricks and movements she has taught Sweetpea over their time together.

Jade Lucas

From: Charing Cross, Christchurch
Horse name: Storm
Performance name: Dancing in the dark

Jade grew up in the UK riding ponies and getting involved in hunting, eventing and dressage. Gaining trackwork experience in Australia, Jade then went on to Canada where she got into horsemanship and discovered a whole new way of training horses. Since coming to New Zealand, she has been showing, eventing, hunting and producing young horses.

Jade’s horse Storm came off the hills and after a lot of self-training and some advice from Equidays Top Talent mentor Dan Steers, she is looking forward to showing the crowd what Storm can do.

At Equidays, Jade and Storm will be performing a liberty and bridleless performance focussing on doing some really big dressage moves that are challenging under normal circumstances, let alone in front of a crowd.

Hayley-Grace Davis

Hometown: Te Puke
Horse name: Wake Field Heartbreaker
Performance name: Wake Field Heartbreaker

Hayley-Grace runs Wake Field Equestrian where she breeds and trains both her own and client horses and teaches regular lessons. She has been training and breaking in horses for over 10 years, training over 100 horses from foals to level 4 dressage, pre-training 2DE, national SH and 90cm SJ. Hayley-Grace has also been in the Kaimanawa Stallion challenge at Equidays previously.

Hayley-Grace’s horse Wake Field Heartbreaker has done everything! Including level 4 dressage, eventing, showjumping, show hunter derby, and cowboy challenge. Having had her two lessons with Dan Steers so far, Hayley-Grace has been able to take the steps in moving from playing around and showing off to performing with more purpose.

Their performance at Equidays will involve dressage, jumping and obstacles with no headgear, just a rope around his neck showing off this stallion’s trainability and temperament.

Megan Perrott

Hometown: Palmerston North
Horse name: Marlie
Performance name: You are my diamond

Megan’s pony Marlie started as a very green horse who didn’t like to be tacked and would bite and kick. After Megan’s mother went to a horsemanship clinic, they started working with Marlie using the techniques they’d learnt.

Megan and Marlie have been together for eight years now, and their relationship has grown from strength to strength having been involved in horse camps, showjumping shows, overnight treks, ocean swims and lots of hangouts and playing in the paddock. Megan says she loved Marlie to bits and can’t imagine what her life would have been without her.

During the roadshow with Dan Steers, Dan and Megan spent a lot of time training Marlie to bow which is something she had never done before and something she has mastered by the second day.

Megan wants to showcase the special relationship she has with her incredible pony Marlie through her liberty and horsemanship performance at Equidays. Their performance will show that Megan’s diamond Marlie is her best friend.

Sherleena Budd

Hometown: Hawera
Horse name: Bijou
Performance name: Liberty ladies

Sherleena bought her horse Bijou when she was a weanling after attending horsemanship clinics so that she could start the natural horsemanship training when she arrived. Bijou arrived at the perfect time to help Sherleena through a difficult time in her life acting as a ‘shining light’ for Sherleena to look forward to.

Sherleena enjoyed the practical hands-on help she received from Dan Steers during the Top Talent roadshow in particular on improving the Spanish walk and the rear. Dan also helped bring her performance together so it looks really smooth and flows well and is interesting at the same time.

Their performance at Equidays will showcase their talent working at liberty on the ground and working with quite a few different obstacles. Sherleena is looking forward to performing at Equidays, showing the level of communication she has with Bijou and Bijou’s ability to perform in the live crowd environment.



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