If you’re well versed in the online equestrian world, then you may have heard of Evie Toombes, a para showjumper, blogger, and motivational speaker.
The 19-year-old has almost 20,000 followers on Instagram as well as a successful blog exploring her life as an equestrian living with chronic illness. Her hashtag #FindAWayNotAnExcuse has motivated countless equestrians to find the light even in the darkest of times.
We’re proud to have Toombes as a Kingsland rider; her endless optimism and determination make her an inspiration to all equestrians alike.
Toombes was born with a form of spina bifida, a condition where there’s a fatty mass at the bottom of the spinal cord causing issues with the nerves to the legs, bladder, and bowel.
She was only young when she was first diagnosed, but that doesn’t stop her from living her life to the fullest.
In 2018, Toombes was selected for Great Britain’s showjumping para team. At just 15-years-old, she was competing alongside seniors in the jumping. She started in her first week as part of the team, going double clear in her class, but as the week came to a close, her mare Daisy enjoyed herself a bit too much and locked onto the wrong jump in their Grand Prix class! And while they didn’t win that round, the pair did go viral with their hilarious elimination.
Learning to ride made the time in hospital worthwhile, according to Toombes. Her passion for horses and riding gives her purpose and direction. On her blog, Toombes mentions how horses teach you empathy, to care for something more than yourself - they get you up every morning, even when you feel like you really can’t do it, you still do for them. Horses give you more to think about than yourself and your problems; they help you to escape. When in the saddle, she isn’t attached to tubes or in her splints; she’s free!
And it’s not just about riding, for Toombes bonding with her horses is one of the most wonderful things about being an equestrian, and being around them is the bonds we form; it’s “an unspoken language built on time, trust and effort.”
She also takes time to appreciate the small things about life with horses, from cuddling them in the stable at the end of a long day to hearing them whinny when they see you.
And it’s hard to miss the incredible bond she does have with her horses, especially Daisy - the 18-year-old showjumper whom Toombes refers to as her ‘heart horse.’
Together the pair are #1 in the para showjumping league and competed for Team GB. Now, Daisy is taking things a bit slower as she’s getting older, with Toombes’ new addition, Jack Sparrow, and her 8-year-old Apple, stepping in to have some fun with their human.
It’s easy to see how Toombes won Horse and Hound’s Amateur Rider of the Decade. Her work in spreading awareness for chronic illnesses, as well as her incredible sportsmanship - who else could be more deserving.
Even though the Paralympics are yet to include show jumping, one day, we’re confident that we’ll be seeing Toombes out there representing Great Britain. She’s an unstoppable force.