California Riding Magazine • July, 2012

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

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.