Tribute to Daz McDowall
Nobody had more passion for the Double Dans than Daz McDowall.
If you had ever inquired about a clinic, show or promotion, you probably would have spoken or emailed Daz and received a quick and informative response.
With the heaviest of hearts we write this tribute to “Daz” Daren McDowall an integral part of Double Dan Horsemanship who suddenly passed away at her farm in Benger WA with her husband Steven McDowall by her side.
She had been the Dans’ administrator and event co-ordinator since 2009.
Her love for both Dan James, me and our families goes without saying. Daz absolutely loved seeing all our fans at clinics and shows with her last big exhibition being Equitana Melbourne 2016 where she enjoyed having both Dans together once again.
Daz was even lucky enough to join in on a clinic with both me and Dan James in Coolup W.A. in December 2016 before D.J. headed back to the USA. What fun times we had. As she said ‘this was the BEST weekend with some of my most favorite people in the world, lots of laughs - fun and learning – I am feeling very blessed to have such beautiful friends in my life – thank you to each and every one of you, you mean the world to me xx ‘.
Daz was an experienced horsewoman who began riding at the age of 10. She just loved life. She had achieved so much from being a vet nurse to owning a pet store, becoming a real-estate agent for Ruralco- Primaries real estate but, most importantly, she loved travelling and living in the W.A. countryside.
She was based on Liveringa Station in the Kimberley from 2003 with her husband, Steve, who was the cattle manager. Daz was in charge of implementing the NLIS (National livestock Identification System) tags for the 25,000 head of cattle on that station. It was here that she first met Dan James who worked for the McDowalls for two years.
It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
Daz was an open campdrafter and successfully competed around WA; her greatest achievement was winning the inaugural Jeannette Strickland Memorial Open Draft at Williams WA on her mare “Peppys Encore”.
It was in these campdrafting circles that she had first met Pia and me.
When Dan James and I made the big move to the east coast in 2009 we decided to approach her to assist with the organisation of our shows and clinics. She had helped with the logistics and planning of one of our early performances and we asked if she would consider becoming a partner in Double Dan Horsemanship.
She came on board full time and was working with DDH right up to the day she passed in January 2017 at home.
For seven years she had been the driving force behind Double Dan Horsemanship (Australia) and she was with us during many trips to America.
She travelled to the States in 2012 when Dan James competed for the first time in The Road to the horse in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He and Guy Mclean, representing Australia, went up against Canada and the U.S. - they were victorious.
Dan James has since moved to Midway Kentucky where he and his wife, Elizabeth, are establishing the Australian Equine Performance Centre, and are about to have their first child. Daz was extremely excited about meeting the newest “James” into the family; I know she will be looking over them at this special time in March. Meanwhile Pia and I are based in Kootingal, NSW with our two children.
I remember how for many years I had no idea what Daz’s real name was, it was finally revealed to me while waiting to get on a plane.
Daz, Dan and I were flying to Broome for a clinic, Daz went to check us all in while I was talking to Dan James. She was speaking to the man at the desk as he looked over her shoulder and called for Daniel Steers, I went and collected my boarding pass and went back to chatting with DJ. Then he called for Daniel James and DJ went and collected his boarding pass and came back and we resumed our conversation. The man once again looked over Daz’s shoulder and called for ‘Daren McDowall’ to step forward. Daz signalled to the man but he ignored her and continued to look past her calling again for a ‘Daren McDowall’. Once again Daz signalled to the man standing in front of her that she was Daren. The man continued to repeat the name – Daren McDowall. That’s when I realised Daz was ‘Daren’. She was standing right in front of the man who became very apologetic. I asked Daz how come she was giving that name.
‘After my grandmother” she said.
We never again heard anyone call her Daren. Always it was Daz and now we’ve lost her - it still doesn’t seem real.
She was supportive, innovative and dependable. A vivacious, dynamic woman always bursting with enthusiasm and energy.
“We’ll always remember Daz for her hard work, her charming yet direct nature and most, importantly, as our loyal friend.”
She leaves her husband Steve, her daughter Casey, son-in-law Dave and children Amelia and Marcus; her son Elliott and daughter-in-law Keelie and their children Con and Emily.
She always said ‘luv my husband, luv my family, luv my animals, luv my Job, luv my life’.
We will leave you with her favorite saying:
‘You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listing,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.’
Daz was just 56 years old.