Cowboy brings the horse hip-hop
Two years ago, Dan Urquhart was living out of the back of his truck. Today, he takes horse hip-hop to Auckland.
Urquhart, a horse behavioural specialist, owns a successful business, Rhymestone Horses, in Yaldhurst and is recording an album with The Feelers.
For Urquhart, 26, who once had to sell his dogs to make ends meet, the swift business success was unexpected.
"About two years ago, I literally had nothing, so I put an advert in the paper for horse training just to get some diesel for my truck and work out my next chapter," he said.
"Over the summer, I could not control the numbers of bookings I was getting. I still haven't put a sign up at the property.
"After the earthquakes last year, it was one of my reasons for staying in Christchurch. I wanted to do this. I never wanted to give up."
His determination has seen his hip-hop career take off at a similar speed. As well as performing at concerts, rodeos and corporate events, he has recorded about 16 songs with The Feelers members Andy Lynch and Matt Short, and hopes to release his next album soon.
This week he will perform with Dizzy/Bro, his quarter-horse-thoroughbred cross, in Auckland bars, including Ponsonby Rd's Golden Dawn.
"My brother doesn't know it yet, but Dizzy will be staying on his driveway in Auckland."
Urquhart's brother is actor Gerald Urquhart, Shortland Street's Dr Luke Durville.
It was his brother's gift of a CD from Los Angeles group Jurassic 5 that opened the door to hip-hop that was not about gang culture, violence and drugs.
He performs with Dizzy, who walks into bars and sits on his horse mattress.
"I take immense pride in riding horses where fellow horsemen are not allowed, " he said.
"It's a privilege to ride into a corporate event or through the central city."