Tamie Smith

Tamie Smith (full name Tamra) is a US event rider who has won at five-star level and won a world team silver medal.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum in the arena familiarisation session at the Tokyo Olympics

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum in the arena familiarisation session at the Tokyo Olympics.

What age is Tamie Smith?

Tamie’s date of birth is 23 July 1974.

What championships has Tamie ridden at?

Tamie was a late-starter in the world of eventing and didn’t compete internationally or at advanced level until she was 30.

She was a member of the gold medal-winning US team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where she finished 17th individually with Mai Baum.

The horse belongs to Tamie’s former working student Alexandra Ahearn and her parents Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell. Alexandra asked Tamie to take on the ride when she decided to concentrate on her studies after producing him to three-star level.

“She took me to dinner one night and said, ‘I have something I want to tell you – I think you’re going to like it’ and the rest is history,“ says Tamie. “It was an amazing honour for her to do that.”

Tamie was the alternate for the US team at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with the same horse.

“That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in horse sport,” she says of the experience of having to sit on the sidelines, not knowing if she’d be called up to compete.

“I made myself try to understand and learn as much as possible from the experience of being there, watching competition at that level, but the biggest take away was never to be in a place where I am put as the reserve again. That was my number one lesson.”

In 2022, Tamie was a member of the silver medal-winning US team at the World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, where she finished ninth individually on Mai Baum.

What is Tamie’s best five-star result?

In 2022, Tamie finished second at the Maryland 5 Star on Danito, her first podium finish at the top level.

“I’m so thrilled,” said Tamie after her showjumping round. “He is a good jumper but the showjumping has been our weakest phase so to go clear is just an enormous achievement.

“This is as close as I’ve got to the top of a five-star and I just said to Tim [Price, the eventual winner], ‘You couldn’t have had a rail for me?’ But no, he’s ever the competitor as well. I’m so happy for my horse’s owner and for my team and for that horse. He’s just little and mighty and amazing.”

Then in 2023, Tamie scored her first five-star win when she and Mai Baum won Kentucky. It was the first home side win at this event since 2008.“All of us have been rooting for an American to win Kentucky for a long time and we’ve been close a few times. I’m so happy an American won because I’m so tired of the Europeans coming over here and taking our national championship and I’m so grateful it was me,” said Tamie after her win.

“I think everybody is elated for me but we all have our own struggles in this sport, we all have our ups and downs. You picture the iceberg, you see the tip poking out, but the bottom is massive. You have a lot of struggle, a lot of heartbreak in this sport, but I think you do in anything that’s great. I think everybody just felt the same emotion I’m feeling right now, just elated.”

Tamie has also finished ninth at five-star twice.

In 2021, she was ninth at Kentucky Three-Day Event, when she was second after dressage but lost the chance of a podium finish when Mai Baum broke a frangible device on the cross-country.

“That will eat me alive my whole life until I’m in my grave. It was a very expensive mistake on all fronts,” says Tamie, acknowledging the error probably led to her being the alternate in Tokyo instead of being on the team, as well as costing her a five-star win.

“I relied on his carefulness. I knew I was down on the clock, probably 10 seconds down, and two minutes from home it’s not easy to make up that time. I took a bit of a risk knowing he’s careful and didn’t get him back enough.

“I learnt a tonne from it and now, I ride that sort of fence very differently.”

The following year, she took Mai Baum to Badminton Horse Trials and piloted him to ninth there.

“It was more magical than I could expect,” she said after showjumping clear. “My best friend and I grew up watching VHS tapes of Badminton, so to get here finally and have that kind of performance is a dream come true.”

US riders Badminton Horse Trials: Tamie Smith and Mai Baum

Tamie Smith with Mai Baum over the Vicarage Vee at Badminton 2022.

Where is Tamie Smith based?

Unusually for a US eventer, Tamie lives on the West Coast (most US eventers are based on the East Coast). Tamie runs her business, Next Level Eventing, from KingsWay Farm in Temecula, California.

Does Tamie have any children? Is she married?

Tamie is married to Dave Smith and has a son with him, Tyler, as well as a daughter, Kaylawna Smith-Cook, from a previous relationship. Kaylawna also competes in eventing at international level.