The Little Horse With The Big Message
When Carolyn Brown goes to the beach with her pet, the response she gets from members of the public is far from normal.
And when Danny – at 79cm tall and weighing in at just over 100kg – is on the beach he is thinking of much more than just frolicking in the water.
Danny is a miniature horse, and has landed a job promoting disaster preparedness.
And whether he is on the beach searching for signs of a tsunami, or in his paddock just north of earthquake-prone Wellington, his owner says he is better prepared for a disaster than most New Zealanders. And that scares her.
Danny has been the spokesequine for Community Emergency Supplies Limited (CESL) for nearly six months, and has appeared on marketing literature, on their website, and in Christmas parades and school fairs. Each time his message is the same: Be Prepared.
CESL Managing Director, Greg Blanchard, says the little horse has appealed to the hearts and minds of people young and old.
“Danny helps us put across a very scary concept in a way that is non-threatening and accessible to all.
“With the anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami approaching it is timely to remember that natural disasters can and do happen in this part of the world. Civil Defence has just released a report that states that over 90% of injury and death could be prevented through proper disaster preparation.
“Our research shows that only around 1 in 10 New Zealanders are fully prepared for a disaster. You may think you are okay with what you have in your pantry. Well I challenge you to grab three days worth of food and water, essential family documents, and medication, and get one kilometre inland in fifteen minutes. Because that’s probably all the warning you will get for a tsunami… if at all!
Mr Blanchard says promoting the disaster preparedness message is an essential part of the company’s vision, as he and his staff have focussed on providing the quintessential survival kit, not “the baubles and trinkets of marketing”.
Carolyn says Danny has his own presonal survival kit and, yes, it contains food and water for three days along with his championship show ribbons and dietary supplements.
She says that working with CESL has brought home how easily society could fall apart after a major tsunami.
“If you live near the coastline as Danny and I do you could be sitting up a hill waiting to be picked up by rescue services for days or even longer. That’s if there ARE any rescuers left alive. Nobody seems to think about that bit, they’re all so concerned about the moment of the disaster and the 15 seconds that follow. What happens when the dust settles?”
And what does the star have to say about this? Not a whinney: he’s had a bit of a sore throat this week and he’s a little hoarse (horse).