Friday, June 29, 2012

Tamra Smith & Next Level Eventing New location expands opportunities for top eventing program.

California Riding Magazine • July, 2012

Advanced level eventer Tamra Smith wasn't planning to move or expand her Next Level Eventing business, but when an opening arose at Tucalota Creek Ranch it just felt right. After several very content years at Liberty Oaks Ranch in Murrieta, Tamra welcomed the chance to cut her commute in half and to have room to take on more horses at the Temecula training facility. All of her students made the move with her and their horses, along with Tamra's, are now ensconced in the Ranch's main 32-stall barn, with room for a few more.

Formerly home to western legend Bob Avila's training business, Tucalota Creek Ranch has lots of room for schooling and conditioning. Tamra raves about the "huge" indoor arena, the full dressage court and the large jumping ring, which can double as a derby field. Owners Alan and Kay Little and stable manager Tim Schock have been super accommodating to Tamra and her team. "If you want to run the kind of training and performance program that we do, you need that kind of support behind you."

With a long list of successes since turning professional nine years ago, Tamra welcomes the opportunity to work with talented eventing horses of all ages, as well as quality young horses bound for other english disciplines. Her crew of students and supporters has grown along with her resume. This month, she expects to take about 15 horses to The Rebecca Farms event in Montana, four or five of her own rides and another 10 or 11 students' horses.

Kicking On

After being short-listed in the Pan Am Games team selection process last year, then opting to accept a United States Olympic Committee grant to compete at the Boekelo CCI Three Star in the Netherlands, Tamra is currently inbetween upper level horses. With nine years as a professional and a lifetime of accomplishments as a junior and amateur before that, Tamra accepts the sport's ups and downs. The upside for this year has been more time at home to focus on her considerable string of talented up and coming horses and her students.

She's riding two horses for sponsor Fleeceworks and another two for Sunsprite Warmbloods, two longtime horse sponsors for whom she is very grateful. And she's cautiously optimistic about an off-the-track Thoroughbred named Top Secret. Tamra has been working with him for about a year and hopes to move him to the Two Star level soon. "I don't know what his limit is, because you never know what that is until you go." Her dream of representing the United States at the Olympics, Pan Am Games and World Equestrian Games, feels within reach, she says, whether it's several years away on one of the youngsters she's developing now or whether it happens on a more experienced mount that could come her way any day.

The nature of any horse sport is such that the source of the next "horse of a lifetime" is rarely known in advance, but one thing for sure is the readiness of her Next Level Eventing team when an opportunity arises. Her students range from a few who are new to the sport to Advanced Level competitors. "My focus is the rider who really wants to get better," she explains. "It doesn't matter to me what level they are."

"We are a competition-oriented barn and we go to a lot of different events each month, but a few of my students choose to show only twice a year, and close to home." Creating a team is a common denominator in Tamra's approach to training horses and riders and to running Next Level Eventing. "It's important to create confidence and harmony as well as an understanding between the horse and rider to create the results that everyone wants: to win and have fun!"

Tamra's personal coaches, working students, clients, sponsors and owners comprise Tamra's team. When her international dreams required extensive travel last year, Next Level Eventing maintained continuity in the training and lesson programs and students and sponsors cheered and supported her in every way.

Tamra's husband Dave, a Riverside Police homicide detective, is her most influential supporter. Their 16-year-old daughter Kaylawna was following in her mother's footsteps as a rider, but recently chose to focus instead on high school water polo, in which she is also very accomplished. The Smith's 8-year-old son Tyler has recently taken an interest in horses.

For more information on Tamra Smith's Next Level Eventing, visit or call 951-852-8062.

Let the adventure begin!

It is Friday afternoon at the Smith house and everyone at NLE is exhausted.....including me. Usually I'm the energizer bunny and keep going and going, but it has finally happened and I've hit a wall. That's ok though because we have delayed our trip by a few hours to get caught up on some sleep and to do some last minute errands.

We leave for Twin Rivers Young Event Horse competition and One-Day and I'm really excited to see how Peanut (the baby from Miss Congeniality) is going to do. She's such a nice horse......she has all the qualities of her mother and none of the hinderances....and I say that with all the affection in the world! Anyone who knows the Green Bean knows what I'm talking about! With that said I am enjoying producing this mare and can't wait for everyone to meet her!

So we are loading 11 horses today and heading North to Twin Rivers. We will stay over and compete tomorrow, have one last look over with our veterinarian Dr. Emily Sandler and off to Caber Farm.

We have already had some chaos happen with Val Ferraro's truck transmission blowing up. I said to Val the silver lining is that she is still home and not stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere! Thank god for that, especially because James and Taren Atkinson will not be following behind us on our journey so so saving the day from Team Fleeceworks this time!
Val, Cheryl and Nicole will be behind a day or so but soon to catch up to us.

I received news that I received some help for travel from the Rebecca Broussard Travel Grant and I am very grateful to be apart of this program. The Broussard's have been so innovative with this program and their support has stepped up the future of our sport. I'm excited to eligible for the International Grant as well and I'm looking forward to seeing how this grant helps give me the leg up I need to make it to that next level.

So here's to our up and coming adventure and trip to Rebecca Farm!!

Here we come everyone!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fleeceworks Fernhill AEC 2010

Fleeceworks Fernhill winning CCI1* at Rebecca Farm

Fleeceworks Fernhill CCI 1*

Dinero & I competing at Bromont CCI3*

The Peanut....aka Irish Blend; by Rascalino out of Miss Congeniality

Let's go Team USA!

Chomping at the bit.....

Chomping at the bit!!!

Well we are in June now and the last time I got a full nights sleep seems like eternity. Business is very good at NLE and everyone is and has been producing stellar results. I can't help but smile when I watch everyone's progress. It makes it so worth every bit of exhaustion and the endless hours!
This year has been about producing the young horse for me.....and I am really enjoying the process! It's put me a bit under the radar and that is a little tough after last years chaos, however I'm looking forward to producing some nice horses.
I've brought several horses along and when I look at the partnerships I developed during those times it solidifies my plan now.
I'm riding a good string of young horses and one OTTB that I'm competing in his first 2* next month. This horse has a special place in my heart. He has more try than any horse I've ever sat on and has to have the sweetest disposition ever. He makes me smile every time I see his face. There is never a day that goes by that he doesn't surprise me.
It's crunch time now getting ready for Rebecca Farms. It's been a good spring and I'm really excited to be traveling up to Montana. The entire family is coming along as well as most of the barn. I think everyone is really looking forward to a great experience and a top class event!
We will be regularly blogging so keep posted on our upcoming adventures!!
Til Saturday!!!