A Letter to Me — Tamie Smith

If you could write a letter to your 20-year-old self, what would you say? That’s the topic of a new series by Equestrian Marketing Firm Athletux. First up to the plate: Tamie Smith. 

Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Dear Tamie,

It’s all worth it … the heartbreak, struggle, uncertainty … it’s all worth it, I promise.

As I start to write this letter to you, my 20-year-old self, I smile at how proud I am of you and all you have accomplished.

Earning your degree, being a single mom, maintaining the ability to ride and never giving up on your dream of someday becoming a professional rider and representing your country. It is all going to happen!

People will say you won’t be able to do it. They will say you will not be able to get to the top of your sport. They will say you have no business even trying, being a single mother and all. Not having a strong financial backing, they are telling you no way. At times you will wonder why you are trying at all, but I promise it’s all worth it.

Photo courtesy of Tamie Smith.

You feel broken right now, scared and overwhelmed. You’re not sure how you will put gas in your car tomorrow, and at times even what you will eat for dinner. You will find a way. You will manage to fight through the barriers that seem to be holding you back.

Focus on the goal … that impossible goal you have. The one you can only dream of now — you will surpass it and end up where you have only been able to dream of being.

Embrace the supportive people who love you. Keep them close and know that it is OK for you to accept help. You can’t do it all by yourself.

Photo by Kim Miller.

You will receive a grant to further your education that will change not only your career, but your outlook on yourself. It will feel surreal, but that is just the beginning. The impact that this grant makes on you as a person and athlete will shape your success and inspire you to try and become one of the best. It will be one of the biggest opportunities in your career. It will be a turning point for you, and it will fuel you in a whole new way.

The horses that you will get to ride will be magical. Not just one but all of them. You, yes you, will have a unimaginable string of world class horses and truly remarkable owners who stand behind not only their horses, but you. You have learned to have an empathetic approach to horses and training and have learned how to think more like your horses. The tricky horses, the ones no one else wants in their barns, they will teach you the most. But, when you have learned from them, also be OK with then realizing some horses are not suited for you, and that it is OK to eventually ride the nice ones, rather than only the difficult ones. I know, you are thinking I have to take every horse possible to be the best I can, but there will eventually become a time when this is no longer the case, just trust me.

Tamie Smith and Wembley at Kentucky. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

You will compete all over the world. I know, it’s hard to believe, you probably can’t imagine it now, but it’s true. Just put your head down and keep working hard, stay a student of the sport, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s impossible. The way others will look at you will only fuel your fire. Your relentless pursuit of becoming better is what will help you achieve your goals — don’t ever lose that attitude and perspective.

I don’t know if it gets any easier, it just gets different and I can also say the tribulations will make you strong, brave and unstoppable. Riding is a lifelong lesson, believe in your program, but also keep an open mind as you always have.

Tamie Smith and Dempsey at Boekelo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Your heart will always break when you have to sell a horse or one gets injured, but you will learn to cope with that, it is part of the business. Your horses will be your closest friends and the greatest listeners.

It’s important to just keep working hard and believe. That is what makes amazing competitors. The sooner you truly believe you can be what you’ve always dreamed of being, the sooner it will happen. Belief is one of the important lessons on this journey. Saying it is one thing, believing it is another.

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal at the American Eventing Championships. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

People will judge you for surpassing their expectations. You will be ridiculed, picked apart, and eventually they will realize that you have become what you’ve become because you worked your ass off. You are never satisfied with being the same. Make sure you continue being a student of the sport. Study, watch, listen and surround yourself with people who want to push you to the top, not ones who are trying to pull you down to them. You will end up leaving those people behind — the ones that tried to prevent your success.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum at the 2019 Pan American Games. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

You still have so much further you want to go, but you are so close, and maybe if you could just believe a little sooner, your inevitable success would happen much faster.

Above all else Tamie, focus on what is truly important for you and your horses. Don’t chase a goal or try and make something happen. Focus! Stay focused on the process and progression. Keep your head down and do what you instinctively know is right. That instinct will never steer you wrong!

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

You’re a champion! You are going to make all your dreams a reality. You will be a 5* (yes 5 not 4*) rider, wear the coveted Pinque coat as you represent your country, and you will still want more even then! All you have to do is believe in yourself, and not give up. Be proud of yourself Tamie. Your hard work and determination will get you wherever you dream, so dream big.

Oh and that little girl of yours, she will grow up to be even more incredible than you knew possible. She too will ride, and she too will be a top-level rider like her mom so keep horses in both of your lives. You will both be glad you did.

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Passepartout. Photo by Kim Miller.

Love, Tamie

 

Equestrian Marketing Firm Athletux has recently restructured its business model to focus on three main areas: equestrian brandsathletes and events. This is a particularly exciting development for brands, who will benefit from Athletux’s wealth of industry insight to help build their image, maximize use of social media platforms and email marketing campaigns, manage sponsored riders, assist with graphic design and more. Learn more by visiting the just-launched new Athletux website here.

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