‘Production was never something I planned to go into’: Leading show producer on how she ‘fell’ into her career

  • Danielle Heath is one of the leading showing producers of the moment, but on episode 77 of The Horse & Hound Podcast the Cheshire-based professional revealed that she hadn’t always sought out a career in the show ring.

    The 2021 season was one of Team Heath’s best yet, culminating in three victories and two championships at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). 

    “My first top pony was the 14hh show hunter pony Morning Melody,” says Danielle Heath, when she chatted to H&H’s showing editor Alex Robinson on The Horse & Hound Podcast. “She was dun with black points; she was beautiful. Mum found her at a local riding club show. She had amazing paces and a fantastic brain. She won the Royal International (RIHS) when it was held at the NEC when I was 12. She ended up reserve champion; that was my first taste of going under the lights in a big indoor arena.”

    Danielle’s decision to go professional was something of a happy accident.

    “During my early 20s I produced my own horses from home alongside my mum, who I lost when I was 21,” she says. “We did showing together and it was something I was passionate about that I would carry on with.

    “I always had intermediate show hunters and working hunters. These classes gradually started to overlap into the horse classes, mainly horse working hunters and small hunters.

    “I rode my own horses in these classes before I sold a horse and the owners asked me to carry on showing it. Production was never something I planned to go into. I enjoyed it and seemed to be quite good at it, so I thought it was best to stick to what I was good at!”

    Danielle’s first major victory as a professional was at the 2008 RIHS on the small hunter Swany River.

    “He was a lovely horse bought out of Ireland by the late Jane Hankey. He was owned by Pauline Binks who is my longest standing owner. We’ve had about 12 small hunters together over the years.”

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