Lights, cam­era, ac­tion!

Dayna Grant com­bines a life­long love of horses with as­ton­ish­ing daredevil lm work, run­ning the New Zealand Stunt School in Karaka

NZ Horse & Pony - - Contents -

Dayan Grant com­bines a life­long love of horses with as­ton­ish­ing daredevil !lm work, run­ning the New Zealand Stunt School in Karaka

Horses have been in­volved in tele­vi­sion and movies since the very be­gin­ning. ey have charged into battle scenes, gal­loped across prairies, reared up and fallen down, as im­por­tant to the ac­tion as the hu­man per­form­ers even if their names never end up on the cred­its.

In the past many horses su ered for the sake of en­ter­tain­ment – par­tic­u­larly in some of those old Hol­ly­wood west­erns. Elec­tric shock col­lars were em­ployed to make them rear and, even more cru­elly, a wire known as a Run­ning W was used to trip them as they ran, o en re­sult­ing in se­ri­ous in­jury and death.

ank­fully, times have changed and to­day’s stunt horses are highly trained and val­ued. Be­tween them, Dayna Grant and Rory Mctav­ish have a string of 23 horses they use for lm work. Dayna is a stunt per­former and co-or­di­na­tor whose cred­its in­clude Xena:war­rior Princess, Mad Max: Fury Rd and Leg­end Of e Seeker. She also runs the New Zealand Stunt School from her base in Karaka. Mean­while fel­low stun­tie Rory is based in Christchurch where he runs Ac­tion Horse NZ and is known for his work start­ing horses and deal­ing with prob­lem cases. Now they have com­bined their skills and are pass­ing on what they’ve learnt to the younger gen­er­a­tion of hu­man and eques­trian stunt per­form­ers.

“We met on a lm called Un­der­world: Rise Of e Ly­cans,” ex­plains Dayna (39). “Since there aren’t that many stunt per­form­ers who are also horse peo­ple, our paths tended to cross on var­i­ous shows. We saw an op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether.”

While they share the same phi­los­o­phy when it comes to train­ing horses, their back­grounds are very di er­ent. Dayna has been rid­ing lit­er­ally since be­fore she could walk. When she was an eight-month-old baby liv­ing in the King Coun­try, her fa­ther would tie her to the sad­dle, with a con­trap­tion he’d made him­self, and she was so re­laxed she would fall asleep up there. “It was my happy place,” she says. “I don’t re­mem­ber be­ing taught to ride. It feels like I could al­ways do it.”

Dayna’s fa­ther trained race­horses and ran a rodeo. “We used to get prob­lem horses that he would break in and as a kid I was al­ways the one that had to get on them. I’d ride all the lu­natics,” she laughs. “Dad was my strength on the ground and so long as he was there I felt like ev­ery­thing was safe. He was tough and

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