Hunter Calder

Twelve year-old Tayla Hansen has a passion for farm animals and on her parents property near Huntly they come in all shapes and sizes - from cats and kittens to dogs and lambs. But of course, Tayla's favourite "best friends" are the cattle she has brought up since birth.

"They don't judge you when you do something wrong, I just love them."

Animal competitions have been in the blood since she was aged one, and at five years she was entering into calf club.


Zeus, the bull is her biggest pet. He weighs more than 450 kilograms but his size does not intimidate Tayla.

"He has the nose ring. If he's going to be silly I just hold on to that a little bit tighter and then he shouldn't be silly."

Tayla's Mum, Brenda says her daughter has a natural way with all animals and Zeus the bull "thinks the world of her".

"He just has eyes only for her, every time she walks, he's watching her."

It's a bond that will be on display at the Waitako A&P Show this weekend. President Doug Lineham says he looks forward to seeing the "association between animal and handler."

"You've just got to watch the faces of the kids when they're showing their animals and you look for the partnership between the animals and the child."

Officials at the event say, safety at the show is their top priority, and there's always someone on hand if an animal gets out of control.

But Tayla says she doesn't take any bull from her cattle.

"I've had them since they were babies and I've taught them these are the rules and they have to stick by them otherwise they'll get in a lot of trouble."


And, she doesn't enter the competitions to win, but rather to have fun and enjoy herself. At the end of the day she says her animals have already won in her eyes.