Nicole Tough has been part of the Australian dressage scene for decades, and along the way she’s learned a lot, writes REBECCA ASHTON.
Passionate and committed, Queensland based dressage coach and rider Nicole Tough never stops learning and studying her sport despite the wisdom she’s already garnered over the years. And her biggest teachers? The horses themselves.
Growing up in a non-horsey family in the suburbs of Sydney, Nicole had to wait until her family moved to Queensland and her dad bought a share in a racehorse before horses came into her life. She recalls: “My dad and Noel Payne, the racehorse’s other owner-trainer, conspired and bought me a Galloway of mixed breed called Cha Chi, and my journey began when I was 13 years old. I did Pony Club and Interschool equestrian competitions had just started, so we participated in those.” Her first instructor was actually a jockey, Terry Payne, who helped her with all the basics.
However, dressage wasn’t Nicole’s first love. She was an adrenaline junkie who loved eventing but had to do dressage “to get to the fun stuff.” It wasn’t until the purchase of an Anglo Arabian for Nicole’s dad that things changed. It bucked her off when they went to try him, and 14-year-old Nicole’s response? “Oh, I love him. We should totally buy him.”
The rest of this article can be read on Equestrian Hub here: https://equestrianhub.com.au/blog/nicole-tough/