When Tiffany Foster was eight years old, she wanted to be around horses, but her family couldn’t afford riding lessons. So her mom, Lynn, signed her up for commercials and film work to cover costs. Foster, 36, has never stopped hustling to get her equine fix. She’s now not only an Olympic show jumper, but also a sought-after coach through her Little Creek Equestrian, a sales and training operation based in Wellington and Belgium.

The North Vancouver native got her competitive start with Brent and Laura Balisky at Thunderbird Equestrian Centre and in 2006 she began working with Eric Lamaze. Two years later, a terrible schooling accident resulting in a broken back nearly cost Foster her career – and the ability to walk. Sidelined from competition for a year, she was determined to return to the ring. In 2011, she won her first-ever international class at Spruce Meadows aboard Victor, owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms, and later that year also made her Nations Cup debut, helping team Canada finish second.

Since then, her career has been on an ever-upward trajectory with two Olympics under her belt – 2012 in London and the 2016 games in Rio de Janiero where a clear round with Tripple X III put team Canada in a jump-off for the bronze medal against Germany. She also represented Canada at the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Tiffany now shares the wealth of this experience with her students, including 26-year-old Stephanie Valdes of Langley, BC, who has been competing in the 1.30-1.40m jumpers with Thalis de la Roque and Cyber Lady Z in Europe and Morocco and, more recently, joining her coach at her winter home in Wellington, FL. Riding Artisan Farms’ horses Brighton and Vienna, plus Coolio 40 and Nona for owner Wendy Valdes, Tiffany continues to develop future stars. She sees a gap in the process, however, that needs repairing if the industry is to flourish. “I would like to see more owner recognition in our industry. Without owners we can’t get very far, and I feel like they are under-appreciated.”

Tiffany acts as the voice for riders as vice-president of the North American Riders Group (NARG), whose focus is to encourage growth of equestrian sport by improving the quality of events. She is also a member of the International Jumping Riders Club, which represents the interests of showjumping riders around the world.

Foreseeable Future

“I am hoping Canada will still be able to send a team to the Olympics in Tokyo, so my goal is to get on that team.”

Memorable Moment

“My clear round with Tripple X in the team final at the Olympic Games in Rio.”