It was time to come home – back to Florida, which was in the early stages of becoming the winter Mecca for dressage training and showing. Nancy also saw the opportunity to build her own business as a trainer and instructor, where at the local level, there was a need. Nancy M. Smith returned to the United States in December of 1986 in her quest to make the United States Equestrian Team. Her first advanced horse was The Immigrant, a Hanoverian by GAZAL VII, owned by Barbie Asplundh. Together they made the 1986 USET Long List for the World Championships.
Aboard Felit, who had been in training with her in Canada, Nancy made the 1987 USET Short List for the Pan Am Games, and also won the Team Silver Medal at the Olympic Sports Festival. In 1989, Nancy and Felit were USET Team Bronze Medalists at the North American Young Rider Championships in Quebec, Canada.
Felit was the first horse Nancy trained to Grand Prix. “The day I rode him down the centerline in his first Grand Prix test I had tears in my eyes,” said Nancy. As the day came when Felit could no longer compete, Nancy lamented, “The hardest thing is that the horses can’t go on forever.” She had to start from scratch, which meant finding the funding and the horse to continue her Olympic dream.