Next Level: Tamie Smith on Thoroughbreds

Upper-level eventing rider Tamie Smith explains the importance of Thoroughbreds in the sport.

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A Thoroughbred eventing
Thoroughbreds have proven they are worth their weight in gold in eventing. Photo by Vprotastchik/Adobe Stock

While Tamie Smith, winner of the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 5*, rides and competes in eventing on many types of horses, Thoroughbreds are one of her favorite breeds.

“So far, I haven’t had the honor of having a Thoroughbred that I could ride at the top level,” she says. “I’ve yearned to have [one] that can compete at the top of the sport.”

Tamie personally owns her own off-track Thoroughbred, named No App for That.

“I absolutely love him more than life, but he is not an easy individual,” she says. “I got him to the 4* level [but needed to] take him back down the levels. Now my assistant rider is riding him. But I always say there’s nothing better than a good Thoroughbred.”

Thoroughbreds and Bloodlines in Eventing

When picking horses, Tamie considers the amount of Thoroughbred they have in their breeding.

“I have selected a couple horses that I’m riding now that have much more Thoroughbred in them,” she says. “I’ve learned that is an important piece to being able to do this at the top of the sport.”

However, she says that the amount of Thoroughbred blood alone isn’t what makes an event horse successful (or not successful).

“I’ve seen full Thoroughbreds competing at the 3* eventing level that didn’t have the endurance to do 5*, or even 4* for that matter,” Tamie says. “So I think each horse is individual. I’ve had full Thoroughbreds be very appropriate for amateurs and even beginning riders. So it really depends on the personality of the horse.”

In 2023, five full Thoroughbreds were in attendance out of the 39 entries at the Land Rover Kentucky 5*, making them the third most represented breed. Three of the five began as racehorses, and are now thriving in their second career as event horses.

Tamie Smith holding the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day trophy
Tamie Smith celebrating her win at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo by Mary Cage

This article about Tamie Smith’s take on the importance of Thoroughbreds in eventing is a web exclusive for Horse Illustrated magazine’s “Next Level” series. Click here to subscribe!

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