You may not have heard of Adam Battaglia but you've almost certainly seen some of his horses over the past two decades.
The newly-arrived Southern Highlands resident has been training animals for almost 25 years and has seen everything, from preparing horses for movies to getting giraffes to sit still for grooming.
But for a man who has racked up quite an impressive list of film, TV and show credits, his origin story is quite understated.
"I've had horses my whole life and been competitive in dressage and eventing," Battaglia told the Southern Highland News.
"I was working for a small zoo as a self-taught animal trainer and then moved to a larger zoo, Taronga primarily for 17 years. I've been focused on animal training and the cooperative care of animals, teaching animals to have injections, giraffes to have their feet trimmed and things like that.
"Then whilst at the zoo through the horse industry I was just asked if I could take my horse on sets. That was 25 years ago. And I've just been running my own company ever since called Dark Horse Productions."
Dark Horse is far from a one-stop shop however with horse riding lessons, training and even pony parties available alongside specialist animal training for the stage and screen.
"We train horses, and other animals, but mostly horses for film, TV, live events and that's how it just started rolling," he said.
"I've been horse master for a lot of films and TV shows. When working on sets it's broken down into a couple of categories. There's wranglers, stunt riders and horse master. Horse master is the person who is basically in charge of all horse operations.
"Most recently I've been involved in the Easter Show Providing all the horses for the Man from Snowy River live production, supplying all the liberty horses for that."
One of Adam's fondest memories is being involved in the cult horror Australian film Wolf Creek 2, although his role was a lot more wholesome than the rest of the movie.
"Working in South Australia on Wolf Creek 2, I had to supply four black horses for the job," he explained.
"They all played the same role but I didn't have four black horses, I had three and one brown horse. We have a special equine makeup artist so she painstakingly and very carefully dyed the brown horse black and made all black horses exactly the same to the point where we couldn't tell who was who."
With his business located in the Northern Beaches suburb of Terrey Hills, space was always at a premium before the pandemic presented a golden opportunity to expand.
"We bought this land five years ago and it wasn't going to be an anytime soon move but then COVID hit and there was basically no film and TV, that all stopped,' he said.
"So we had all this time on our hands so what better time to start that process. I love the space. It's prime position for my horses. It's a good horse community I'm finding. We grow our own hay out there as well so the ability to be self sufficient.
"I also teach so the ability to have clients come here more freely and I take a lot of horses in for training so having them in this location just makes more sense.
"My family have lived in the Southern Highlands my whole life so I'm basically just coming home. I was born in Sydney but the family lives in Bundanoon and I'm currently in Moss Vale.
"My business just became too big for Sydney so this gave us the space to be free."
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