By: Eva Hulbert – [email protected]
At the age of three, Tiffany Nazar was first put on a pony while on a summer holiday with her parents in Scotland, and so began her passion for horses.
Over the years of her childhood in London, she went for riding lessons while visiting her grandparents in Brighton and later on riding holidays every Easter in various locations in the British Isles.
She dreamt of owning a riding school, recording this in her diary as a young schoolgirl. From the age of about seven, Tiffany began competing in gymkhanas, and her sister Deborah soon followed in her footsteps.
In July of 1982, Tiffany and |Deborah’s family were on holiday in the Algarve and, having fallen in love with the place, they decided to look for a home in the area. They visited estate agents and were shown three properties that week.
The third of these was a farm of 17 hectares, set among some beautiful countryside, which had no electricity or water but a wealth of charm. They had found their place!
Tiffany’s grandparents were the first to move to the farm. The first improvement was to build a bathroom. A year later, the rest of the family moved.
The girls were thrilled to have such a different life to their old one in London… There was no TV, lighting was from paraffin lamps, and a generator supplied their other power needs. It would be another seven years before they were to enjoy the luxury of mains electricity!
Tiffany’s parents bought a mule, and she and Deborah cared for it to prove that they could do all the work involved. They were then allowed to progress to horses. The girls were at the International School of the Algarve in Porches and spent most of their spare time with their horses. Tiffany also helped out at a local riding school.
In 1988, Tiffany left school and went to work in a local restaurant, but after a few months her desire to fulfil her dream led her to leave her job. Luckily, she had very understanding parents who gave her their full support.
Soon they were ready to open and the first pupils arrived. Fortunately, the existing buildings were able to be adapted. When building work was needed, Tiffany would invite a group of friends for a ‘building party’ with lots of food and fun so that before long the work was completed. Tiffany’s father helped with maintenance, and her mother took on the office duties.
Having finished school, Deborah helped more with the running of the stables, so right from the beginning, Tiffany’s was a family-run business.
Developing their business, they also became interested in eco-friendly living and permaculture, so one project was to build an eco-friendly house for their volunteers, who come to stay from all over the world. This has a solar power system, composting toilet and a vegetable garden providing organic vegetables for the family and their team of helpers.
Riding for all levels
Over the years, Tiffany’s team gained a reputation among residents and tourists alike for their skills, experience and their dedication to sharing their knowledge and enjoyment of horses. The riding centre is registered with the Federação Equestre Portuguesa as well as the Rede Nacional de Centros Federados.
Today, Tiffany’s has a range of horses and ponies to suit all riders. There are various riding opportunities to suit all levels of ability, from one-hour country rides to all day adventure rides which include a luxurious picnic with champagne.
You can combine your riding experience with orienteering on their special two hour pathfinder rides. On the shorter rides, quiet pathways and bridleways take you through surrounding farmland with a wealth of flora and fauna, without ever having to use the roads, while the longer rides take in some stunning hill and coastal scenery.
Some of the longer rides may take you as far as the Barragem da Bravura or Espinhaço do Cão to the north, Cape S. Vincent to the West, or Meia Praia to the east.
Tiffany’s also offers a variety of riding lessons for both individuals and small groups, so whether novice, intermediate or advanced, you can be sure to receive excellent tuition from a fully-qualified instructor. There is a sand arena and a large wood chip arena, as well as International standard show jumps.
If you wish to work towards a recognised qualification, Tiffany’s is a training and examination centre for the Escola Nacional de Equitação, holding courses for the Acompanhante de Turismo Equestre, Ajudante Monitor and National TREC Judge qualifications. There are regular training sessions and FEP Sela Exams up to level six held here throughout the year.
Children receive the team’s special support and encouragement. Those aged 4-6 are initially led in hand around the farm fields for 20 minutes. They can participate in small group lessons from age five. For pony-mad youngsters from seven years old, Pony Rangers is very popular. Every Saturday morning, the children enjoy three hours of theoretical and practical tuition in horse care and riding.
Special needs riders
Riders with special needs are given short riding sessions to increase their mobility, communication skills and self-esteem, receiving plenty of individual attention.
If you already own a horse or are thinking of owning one, Tiffany’s offers excellent facilities for both full and DIY livery in spacious stables or paddocks with full-time supervision. And if you wish to become involved in competing, there are various events organised throughout the year, in Showjumping, Dressage, Derbys, TREC, Gymkhanas and Endurance, most of which are held at the centre.
Tiffany’s Riding Centre is easily accessible from various West Algarve resorts, situated right on the EN125, 7km west of Lagos, 1km west of the village of Almadena, and 24km east of Sagres,
Algarve residents may qualify for discount prices or scholarship awards.
Contact Tiffany’s on 282 697 395 or 919 231 975 or visit their website www.teamtiffanys.com