Saying that riding is in her blood would be an understatement for this talented young rider. Being part of a family that is rooted in Canadian Eventing history (father Nick Holmes-Smith was Olympic Team Member 1980, 1988, and 1992), it seems predictable that Tosca would follow in his foot(hoof)steps. Her meteoric journey to the top of the podium is a true testament to her commitment to her horses and her work ethic. Her pride in her horses' success far outweighs her time in the spotlight. Tosca's story is an example of how it takes a village to get to the top!
Name: Tosca Holmes-Smith
Home Base: Chase, British Columbia
Horses: Fiat and Tom Riddle
Started Riding: I was born into a family (daughter of eventers Ali and Nick Holmes-Smith) very involved in horses and the Eventing World, so I have been riding since before I can remember.
Recent Highlight of your Riding career: This summer I rode Fiat at the NAJYRC, and came home with an Individual gold medal as well as Team bronze.
Note: The eventing portion of the 2017 Adequan/FEI NAJYRC took place at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, MT. Tosca was the top placing Canadian team member.
Horse that had the most impact on your journey: Through the years I have been lucky enough to ride many amazing horses and ponies, but the one that has had the biggest impact on my career is my mum's old 2* horse Paddington. Paddy was a 14.3hh Welsh/Quarter horse who took me around my first 1* in 2014, and to NAJYRC the following year. Despite his small stature Paddy was a machine cross country and loved to jump. He utilized his jumping talents regularly on his own time as well, often hopping fences to see if the grass really was greener on the other side!
Most Challenging Time in your Riding career: The most challenging time in my riding career was probably 2014. I unsuccessfully tried to upgrade my mare to Preliminary, resulting in an elimination and a fall, then broke my arm right before I had planned to run Paddy in the CC1* at Rebecca Farm. These experience taught me that horses are unpredictable and things don't always go to plan, however, just because life isn't cooperating right now it doesn't mean your goals won't work out for you in the long run. I rerouted to Galway Downs CC1* in the Fall, finishing on my dressage score. The same mare that I struggled to get around a prelim that Spring went on to win multiple events at that level and finished 12th at NAJYRC in 2016.
Most Rewatching Moment: The most rewarding moment of my career to date is taking Grace around NAJYRC last year. I started riding Grace when I was 12 and brought her up the levels from Pre-entry through Preliminary on my own, which wasn't easy. Having her do well at such a big event made all my hard work and struggles with her worth it. I loved seeing my efforts pay off in the end!
Who has inspired you? My parents have always been endlessly supportive of me in my riding endeavours, and my dad even doubles as my jumping coach!
Looking forward; where do you see yourself? I plan to continue pursing my riding career in the years to come, hopefully moving to the east coast and getting a working student position after I finish grade 12. I would love to eventually compete at the 3 and 4 star Levels and represent Canada internationally.
Note: Tosca's family not only surrounds her and Carmen (her sister) with endless support but also are committed to the development of Eventing in western Canada. They are based out of their facility Chase Creek Eventing, and are involved with running the Mustang Powder Horse Trials.