Live like someone left the gate open. | Rivermead

Live like someone left the gate open.

By: Chrissy Keepence | October 21st, 2021

This is a favourite quote from Nicole Tough, a professional dressage trainer/coach on the Gold Coast. Nicole says;

Each day, I am blessed to be tasked with developing a team of dressage horses, to try and bring out their potential and keep them happy athletes. In addition, I also get to help, guide and inspire students to work towards achieving their goals with their horses.

I believe in creating goals that command your thoughts, channel your energy and inspires your hopes and dreams. My goals are always to improve, both as a trainer and as a coach, and if my goals take me and /or my students to competitive success and maybe even to National representation, I’m up for it 🤩.

At the moment, my team of
horses include 9 year old Hanoverian - Ferragamo, who we are training at Grand
Prix level; 8 year old Hanoverian - Florenz, who we are training at Small Tour
level; 6 year old German Riding Pony - Nintendo, who is training Elementary
level and 4 year old German Riding Pony - Dumbledore, who is just at the
beginning of his career. They are all very different characters;

Ferragamo is super quirky, with his ‘Houdini’ and Shetland pony
antics. He is a council worker at heart, and requires motivation to train in
the gym. 

Florenz is our resident grump and can get next level ‘Hangry’ 🤪. He is a chicken at heart and would ask the Wizard of Oz for
courage if he could. He is super alert by nature and wary of life, so it is my
mission to earn his trust and believe that he is safe with me.

Nintendo is new to the team, and definitely has his share of
Attention Deficit Syndrome…. Often causing mischief and looking for ways to
draw scrutiny, he can also hold a week long grudge🙄, and
would make a lousy boyfriend!

Dumbledore is our youngest member, and the resident spunk 💕. He is very noise sensitive
and needs to learn that hanging with me is his preferred option. 

Rivermead Estate Experiences:

During the Tokyo Olympics, I was lucky enough to watch the
Dressage from the luxury of Rivermead Estate with a wonderful group of like
minded friends. Feasting on exquisite catering and watching the best dressage
riders in the world on a big screen was just fantabulous and a night to

I have also been lucky enough to experience a few training
days at Rivermead Estate, and riding at a venue like this, makes you sit taller,
be prouder and ride at your best. The scenery is surrealistic and the whole
experience feels magical - like you are in a Pride and Prejudice movie scene.

Equestrian Sport:

Equestrian sport is so unique, with the athletic training of both
rider and horse. In equestrian sport, our tennis racquet answers back, our golf
club has an opinion, our javelin can be having an off day, our basketball can
be terrified of an umbrella, our surf board can be feeling under the weather,
and our kayak can think it’s all too hard 🙉🙊🙈. In equestrian sport, males and females compete against each other on equal footing, and you can neither be too young nor too old, too tall
nor too short, to be exceptional. In our sport, perseverance is more important
than talent, and the heart of your horse can make you feel like you're soaring
with eagles. In our sport, you cannot have a day off…. Ever. For the horse
needs daily attention, whether it’s a training day or not.

There is a majesty in equestrian sport that has no parallel, and
it is my dream to bring it more to the public. 

I am lucky to coach goal oriented young riders, who put their
horses first, are driven to improve, and if luck and timing go their way, we
might just see them at the Brisbane Olympics. Abby Weel, Zali Young, Brooke
Flesser, and Daisy Fielding to name a few.

My fav things to do when not
with the horses, are watching movies, reading, hiking with the dogs, playing
games and snow skiing with my family.

Life is for living….. find something that makes your heart soar,
makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning, and do it every day.


Photo 1 - Dumbledore, owned by Nicole

Photo 2 - Nicole Tough and

Photo 3 - Nicole Tough and Florenz,
owned by Emma and Paul Weel 

Photo 4 - Nicole Tough and Nintendo,
owned by Emma and Paul Weel


“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.” – Rumi
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