Remembering a champion: Vale Narelle Shingles

On Monday, May 27, 2019 Mrs Narelle Gai Shingles passed away after being diagnosed with cancer in February 2019.

Narelle was born in Cowra to Harold and Thelma Oliver and spent all her early years living on the family property ''Carro Park'', Darby's Falls Road, Cowra.

During this time her love of horses and show riding was developed.

She joined Pony Club, trained her horses and attended to all show preparations such as grooming and equipment. Narelle went on to be a successful competitor in the Cowra and local district shows, winning Reserve Champion girl rider at Cowra on her horse Prince Hal.

This horse also won the Champion Open and District Hack. She was Champion Jumps and Girl Rider at the Woodstock Show during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1962, Narelle was competing in the Sydney Royal Easter Show showing Hunter Hacks and Show Jumping, winning a selection of classes and silver trophy cups.

After completing her schooling at Cowra Primary and Cowra High School, with her continued love of horses and show riding, Narelle joined the work force with one of her first positions being the driver of a wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdales during asparagus season at ''Raintree'', Cowra.

She was small in stature but a very strong, fit lady who worked very hard.

Narelle went on to work in hairdressing, a stint at Lynch's Dry Cleaners and a Orange farm at Gayndah, Queensland.

Upon returning home to Cowra, Narelle went to work as a well respected bar person at the Lachlan Valley Hotel and Australian Hotel.

In her last 14 years, Narelle was the licensee of the Koorawatha Hotel.

On January 26, 1997 Narelle married Graham Shingles, and a handbuilt horse stables block the couple completed on their property 201 Bulk Head Road, Cowra, made a lovely backdrop for their wedding.

By this time Narelle had branched out into Appaloosa horse breeding, training and competing in national, state and futurity championships across Appaloosa Show Arenas.

Narelle did it all whilst showing and training her own horses.

She was a true amateur all rounder and very capable driven rider competing in everything from Dressage to Western Pleasure being a great inspiration to all.

In 2014, Narelle was awarded the Judges Encouragement Award at the Appaloosa National Titles.

A competitive, friendly much loved active member of the Australian Appaloosa Association for over twenty years, Narelle continued to compete right up to when being diagnosed with cancer.

At 70, Narelle competed at the Appaloosa Nationals on her latest show horse Gratitude who was two years old.

Other best known of her Appaloosas were Gest My Choice, The Social Page and her favourite Mr. Red Labelled (Johnnie).

One of these competitive events earned Narelle a monthly sporting award for the Cowra Sportsperson of the Year Awards.

A most memorable travel adventure for Narelle was a trip to Vietnam with her husband Graham in the 1990s. This was to be a very moving experience as Graham is a Vietnam War Veteran.

A tenacious competitor with a wonderful character and a devilish sense of humour, she introduced various beverages to calm nerves or a session of relaxing to unwind if things did not go to plan back in camp after competing for Appaloosa Titles.

Narelle passed away aged 71 years at home in the loving care of her husband Graham.

She is profoundly missed by her family, friends and the National Appaloosa Horse Fraternity.

A memorial class was held in her honour on March 13, 2020 at the Appaloosa National Show Titles, Equestrienne Centre, Sydney, with a buckle being presented to the winner Renee Toovey.

Narelle is survived by her husband Graham, stepsons Nathan and Troy Shingles, step grandchildren Jackson and Amber, niece Danielle Tysoe and nephew David Tysoe.

Parents, brother Robin and sister Deirdre (Tysoe) pre-deceased her.

A graveside funeral service was held at the Cowra Cemetery on June 4, 2019.