Maitland Showgirl 2018: Breanna Murrell says count me in

For Breanna Murrell, the thought of spending time in a dress and high heels is far more daunting than climbing onto the back of a wild horse.

But that's exactly what she's going to have to do after taking the plunge and becoming the first entrant in the 2018 Maitland Showgirl competition.

"I'm very much a jeans and boots sort of girl," Breanna, 22, said. "I've been around horses all my life ... I know them, that's where I'm comfortable."

Breanna, who grew up in Largs, works these days at Davali throroughbred horse stud, a 300 acre  property at Luskintyre.

"I got my horse breaking and training certificate from Tocal a few years back, and then  started working at various properties around the state, mostly as a horse breaker," she explained.

"I've been at Davali the last couple of years and am really enjoying it."

Horse breaking sounds rather tough, I say, and it must mean a few bumps and bruises over the years.

She breaks into a laugh.

"Ooh yeah, I've had a few injuries. Put it this way, I've earned the certificate, " she says.

Then why Miss Showgirl?

"I have a strong agricultural background and believe the community should get behind our agricultural industry,’ she said.

“I also think it will be a good thing to push myself out of my comfort zone and develop as a person.

“I think this would be a chance to promote a positive outlook toward our farmers and the land and hopefully get a few younger girls interested in doing the same thing along the way.

“The Hunter has such a strong rural heritage … it’s something we should all be very proud of.”

But the thought of boots and dresses doesn't come naturally.

"I've got loads of boots and jeans, but not dresses. And the thought of public speaking doesn't come easily either, but if I want to do this then I'll obviously have to embrace it.

"Besides, I can always go out and buy a few dresses."

Showgirl entries close on Thursday, January 18 at noon.