It’s time to introduce you to Tiffany Gale, the incredible horsewoman behind The Shoalhaven Ride on the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. A lifelong lover of horses, fine dining and world-class wine, Tiffany started up her riding business after being utterly inspired by her experience on the Tassie Tiger Trail. She settled in The Shoalhaven region with a dream of fusing her three passions together and sharing them with others – and we’re incredibly proud to have helped her accomplish this!
How long have you been running your riding outfit? And what was the background, history, reason for starting?
I’ve been running my riding outfit since April 2019.
My love affair of horses started when I was four, although I feel I was born with horses in my blood. I was the typical little girl who daydreamed, obsessed over and constantly pestered her parents for a pony. At eight they finally caved in and we got Happy, the grumpiest little Welsh Mountain Pony ever to grace this earth. From then I had the privilege of owning many beautiful ponies until I met Misty, a 14.2hh grey Arabian who head over heels stole my heart. He was a massive show-off, a jig-jogger and always, and I mean always, had to be at the front of a group. He was super competitive, which matched me perfectly as I was super competitive too (just quietly), and this was the foundation of our very successful sporting career through Pony Club and my eternal affinity with the Arabian breed. Our favourite Pony Club games were bounce pony, flagging and barrelling, which took us to state level for many years. Then a few years after high school, the craving to travel took over. I studied travel and tour guiding and off I went to explore the world. I lived and worked in California, London, Bondi and Fremantle (Western Australia) and studied fashion design along the way.
Fast forward to November 2017: I was made redundant from my fashion designer role in Sydney. I was faced with a crossroads of sticking it out in the fickle fashion industry or exploring what I was truly passionate about: horses. As fate would have it, I had already paid a deposit on a Globetrotting horse riding holiday before being made redundant, and little did I know I would be embarking on a self-discovery mission to Tasmania for some very timely soul searching. Within 20 minutes of arriving I was transfixed, and knew instantly where I belonged and was happiest in the world: on horseback. The idea of operating my own horse riding holiday outfit was born. I chose a region where I could align my three passions: horses, wine and food, and I’m proud as punch to be able to share these loves with other like-minded horse lovers.
How many guest horses do you have?
Four, soon to be seven.
Describe your herd of horses in four words.
Enchanting, entertaining, expressive and enthusiastic.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your horse riding experiences?
I’ve become aware that my horses offer opportunities for their riders to become calmer, gentler, more generous, more grounded and understanding. They also gift their riders more awareness, curiosity, contentment and happiness – this is when one experiences the full measure of what a gift to mankind horses truly are, and my wish for all my guests to experience. Toss in delectable regional food, exceptional wine and the great Shoalhaven region and you have what I believe to be ‘The Ride of the Year!’
What do you love most about your job?
Well firstly, how can I call it a job? I love everything about it; even picking poo, it’s like meditation to me! However, the very thing I love the most is the unique interconnected bond I have with each of my horses. Each moment I spend with them they show me an honesty and clarity like no other and demand a beautiful presence. They teach me to be gentle, kind, patient and be a source of compassionate confidence and consistency, which I then take into every other relationship I have.
Oh and I loooove looking after them and ensuring their happiness by focusing heavily on their freedom, forage and friends.
What is the most challenging part?
I sometimes worry too much that I’m not good enough and therefore feel the need to strive for perfection. However, my horses teach me the humbling lesson every day to just ‘go with the flow and enjoy the ride’.
Why should globetrotters sign up for this ride?
How does creating a space to just stop, breathe and immerse yourself in something you love which is truly just for YOU sound? We start the ride with a deliberate slowing-of-pace, with a gorgeous little wine tasting followed by a scrumptious two-course lunch. From there we go on to meet your steed for a ground work session that is not only intended to build a foundation of trust and confidence, but is really for our guests to truly find stillness, relish in the present moment and get swept away by the wind in the mane of their precious steed. Guests will learn that our horses respond best to a present mind, with no intentions or expectations, and this provides the opportunity to ride with a heart full of gratitude and lightness for the duration of the trip. Of course, this is matched beautifully with the best that our stunning region has to offer as you dunk yourself in award-winning wines (quite literally), exquisite farm-to-table food and breathtaking Australian scenery. It’s a perfect blend of touching the ground, consuming from the ground and the feeling of being at one with the ground.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before signing up for this ride:
Don’t burn your tongue before your trip, as your taste buds are up for more than a few mouth-watering delicacies.
Finish this sentence: Don’t leave home without…
A good sense of humour and a crutch muff. Yes, a crutch muff is a thing, and we too were flabbergasted when a beautiful guest rode with one. It’s similar to a sheepskin seat saver but it’s shaped like a triangle and goes down your joddies, over your crutch; a sheepskin crutch saver. (Please note it’s not necessary for the ride – our saddles and horses are more than comfortable).
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding career?
Witnessing the profound changes in my guests when they realise that they don’t need to move a horse’s feet to capture his mind. As the guest stands quietly by the horse, and the horse changes, in that same moment the guest changes too. When the guest becomes aware that they are also being changed, not just the horse, they realise that they have the ability to affect the outcome by the exchange of energies and this, my dear globetrotters, is what gets me up in the morning!
Ready to pack your bags and set off for The Shoalhaven? Check out all the details on the ride page.
Oh, and if you’d like an introduction to the handsome Arabian in the photo above, click here.