Nicole Tough riding Dante at the Australian Dressage Championships 2010
It may be early in the season, but that didn’t stop Nicole Tough from taking out the Championship title in every level from Preliminary to Prix St George at the Queensland 2010 State Dressage Championships on the weekend.
The event was postponed from last year, giving riders the opportunity to compete in the classes they were entered in from 2010, meaning they would be very established at the level and hopefully producing some big scores.
This was certainly the case for Nicole, who scored 79.55% and 76.36% in the Preliminary for Champion, and 73.57% and 73.281% in the Novice for Champion, riding the imported five-year-old gelding, Furst Tyme (Furst Heinrich / Miss Moonshine).
On the seven year-old imported gelding Flavio (Florestan / Wolkenstein II), she won the Elementary and Medium titles, scoring up to 75.5%. On her third mount, the imported eight-year-old dapple grey, Dante, bred from a De Niro son and Inschallah mare, she took out the Advanced and Prix St George classes, scoring in the high 60’s. That’s six levels for six Champions! A considerable feat for the Gold Coast based trainer, who was humble about her accomplishments:
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, you’re so busy learning each test and getting on doing the job that you don’t have time to think about it. I only ever want to show my training, the rest is out of your control, because it’s subjective, it’s up to those two judges, and sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. I had a few count backs there and Tor (Van Den Berge), Jayden (Brown) and Jenny (Gherke) always give you a run for your money, but it just happened to go my way this time, I was lucky.”
Beau and Linda Dowsett are the proud owners of all three horses: “I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful owners and I really can’t thank them enough for supporting me. Beau very generously sent Linda and I to Germany in 2008 to look for horses. There were three I liked and to my surprise, he bought them all back!”
So what is Nicole’s secret to success? Hard work offcourse: “It’s slogging it out everyday, being disciplined and having lessons, lots of lessons. My neighbour said to me the other day, ‘Nicole, don’t you ever get sick of going around in circles?’ I said, ‘No, every circle, every step of the circle, is a challenge.’”
There are many who have influenced Nicole’s training: “I have weekly lessons with Traci Manca, she stops me from sliding backward and from any bad habits creeping in, she’s great eyes on the ground. Then I go to Leonie Bramall when she comes over here three times a year. I also get Matthew Dowsley up for clinics, he’s fantastic, and I also go to Carlos de Cleermaecker, who’s the Queensland State Coach, so I’ve got lots of help.”
Nicole was one of the lucky riders picked for the Steffen Peters clinic at Equitana in Melbourne last year: “I thought his training was spot on, it’s not different from Leonie, it’s being super effective from minimal aids. He’s really into doing less to get more. The other thing I really liked about him was how he said to finish everything one hundred percent, don’t accept less than that. If you want more bend, don’t settle for less, get more bend, if you want them more through, get them more through, because when we’re at home we can get into the habit off accepting less than what they’re capable off and you can’t do that, you have to be disciplined about what you accept.”
You can view all the results from the Championships here