The days are long, but Francesca Toms is doing what she loves.
The 2016 Montezuma-Cortez graduate is currently spending 10 to 12 hours a day working at High Point Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia.
There, she works at the showbarn with 10 actively competing horses and trains six days per week in eventing.
Eventing is described by the United States Eventing Association as an “equestrian triathlon.”
The three-phases of the sport are dressage, cross-country and show jumping, with Toms claiming the cross-country portion as her favorite.
Toms first grew interested in eventing at 11 years old, and she competed throughout high school under trainer Alison Eddy at Cliff Palace Pony Club.
After graduating in May of 2016, Toms moved to Albuquerque to work and train, eventually competing in the 2016 American Eventing Championships at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina last fall.
Riding horse Top Secret, Toms placed 15th out of 41 in the Broadstone Junior Beginner Novice class.
She also made connections in the area and moved to Charlottesville shortly after, where she’s currently living and working with seasoned trainers Mark and Mimi Combs, the latter having served as an alternate for the U.S. Eventing team in the 1996 Olympics.
After her 15th-place finish at the American Eventing Championships, Toms took third place at the Surefire Horse Trials in Purcellville, Virginia, before wrapping up the 2016 season at the Maryland Horse Trials and Viginia Horse Trials.
She is currently training for the upcoming competition season, which begins in March.
“My goal for this competition season is to be highly competitive,” she said. “This is a competitive region – I would say area two is one of the most competitive regions – and there are just a lot of people. So I would say my biggest (goal) would be to be competitive in this area.”