Like her namesake, Opal is a desert jewel, a mare who spent most of her life on a remote station before being bought by Globetrotting guides, Jen Clingly and Jeremy Ford, who run both the Tassie Tiger Trail and The Grape Horse Adventure. Whether she’s crossing Tasmanian forests or South Australian vineyards, Opal is as beloved by guests as she is by her owners.
Horse’s name: Diamond Tail Desert Opal, affectionately known as Opal.
Height: 14.3 hands high.
Mare or gelding: Mare.
When and how did you find Opal?
Wilpoorinna Station. This rough diamond grew up in the desert of South Australia and lived most of her life like a Brumby on a big station south of the Birdsville Track. She is a real gem and scored the name Opal because of her amazing palomino-pinto colouring. She is a top Tasmanian lightweight endurance horse and has clocked up over 3,000 kilometres, winning and placing in many rides.
What do riding guests most love about this horse?
She has a fan club worthy of a social media page! She looks after anyone on her back. She instills confidence and love and repeat guests beg to ride her again.
As guides, what do you most love about this horse?
If we have a nervous or beginner rider, we know that Opal is the perfect horse for them to gain confidence. She will rise to the occasion with a seasoned rider, but is happy to trit trot along at whatever pace the guest desires.
What are some of Opal’s idiosyncrasies?
She is perfect. She has a huge self preservation ethic, is surefooted, careful, and always looks out for her rider. She is hardworking and focused. Not overtly affectionate, but will do anything you ask while looking gorgeous all the same.
Is there a stand-out story, or anything else we should know about Opal?
Opal was unexpectedly pulled out of the paddock to compete in the famous Tom Quilty 160km endurance championships in 2012. She arrived at the base at 9pm in a whirlwind of paperwork and excitement to have boots glued on to her hooves in four different colours in the dark before the midnight start. She set a steady pace and stuck to it, grinding away the kilometres to reach a cheering crowd and successfully finish 10th lightweight – a huge achievement for this little pali-pinto mare.