Di Denton has been a 'horse person' for as long as she can remember.
The equine natural therapist and business owner has called Diamond Beach home for almost 40 years and has grown to become a beloved member of the horse riding community.
"I was about 14 when I got my first horse," Di said.
"I just love being part of the horse community, whether it be pony club, endurance or trail riding.
"It's just part of me, living here is about the horses."
Di is certainly a busy woman. She owns Muddy Creek Rain Gear, a business that sells specialised equestrian wet weather gear across Australia, New Zealand and England.
"They're a 21st century version of a traditional oil skin style for serious riders who want to get out and stay dry," Di said.
She's also behind holiday accommodation properties Seahorse Diamond Beach and Seafarers Diamond Beach.
"Seahorse Diamond Beach is uniquely horse and dog friendly where people can bring their horse, stay somewhere lovely and ride their horses on the beach," Di said.
"Dog lovers come and stay to enjoy the dog friendly beaches.
"Seafarers Diamond Beach was built and designed to be wheelchair accessible and is also dog friendly.
"It provides accommodation for NDIS service providers and users."
The uniqueness of the accommodation hasn't gone unnoticed. Seahorse Diamond Beach won the excellence in tourism and hospitality award at the recent MidCoast Business Chamber Awards.
"We're very excited about that," Di said.
"We love what we do and be able to share this lovely area."
I just wanted the information for myself, I came back to the area thinking it needs to be up in this area so if it is my horse that needs to be rescued or someone else's, the information is here and not in the Hunter Valley.- Di Denton
Diamond Beach is one of a handful of locations on the east coast of Australia that are horse friendly.
Di described the lure of the town as "the ultimate experience for horse owners."
"It's a bucket list thing for horse riders to take them on the beach, we don't realise how lucky we are," Di said.
"You see it in the movies, people galloping on the beach in front of the waves and the sunrise.
"It's not uncommon to be riding on the beach and see whales breaching out there or dolphins pacing you along the beach.
"We've had so many people thank us for making their dream come true.
"It's just the most exhilarating experience, I never tire of it and I live here and do it quite regularly."
She has been a longstanding advocate for the safety of large animals in the Manning and Great Lakes.
Di brought to the attention of Manning Landcare the accredited Large Animal Rescue Workshop.
The course, held at Taree Showground last week, provided hands-on knowledge and procedures for handling any emergency involving large animals.
As drought continues to grip Australia, Di explained the critical importance of knowing what to do.
"If the real world situation does happen, you've got the experience not just theoretical," Di explained.
"If you were to come across your horse stuck in a creek or bogged down in a dam, which is happening during the drought, you've got first-hand experience on how to address it, how to assess the situation and how to help the emergency responders if you need to get somebody in.
"It's also relevant if there is a float turnover or if a cattle truck jackknifes."
Whether it's horses, camels, cattle, donkeys, mules or llamas, the information was of high importance for local farmers and handlers.
"It's not the owner of the animal that leads the rescue, it's the State Emergency Service or police as the first responders," Di said.
It's a bucket list thing for horse riders to take them on the beach, we don't realise how lucky we are.- Di Denton
"They have overall authority of the accident situation so it's really important to guide them."
Di saw the course advertised for many years and completed it in the Hunter Valley.
"I just wanted the information for myself, I came back to the area thinking it needs to be up in this area so if it is my horse that needs to be rescued or someone else's, the information is here and not in the Hunter Valley," Di said.
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