Canada’s Tik Maynard has already represented Canada at the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan Am Games, competing in the Modern Pentathalon. Now a full-time eventer, if the result he just pulled off at Red Hills International with his 7-year-old gelding, Dutch Times, is an indication of what is to come, he may be a second time Pan Am competitor this year in Toronto.
Tik and Dutch, owned by Christina Aharoni, placed 2nd in a field of 57 riders at the Red Hills CIC2*, finishing on 51.5 after adding only two time faults on cross-country to their dressage score. Last November, Tik and Dutch dazzled the crowds at the 2014 Royal Winter Fair Indoor Eventing, where they won the class. Tik is only the third rider in the nine-year history of the popular Canadian event to be crowned champion, joining seven-time winner Waylon Roberts and one-time winner Penny Rowland.
Pan Ams take two
Tik currently has two horses declared for the Pan Am Games, Dutch and a 16-year-old mare, Sapphire, owned by his dad, Richard. Tik has competed Sapphire to the CIC3* level. She was bred by a Canadian breeder, Shauna Cook from just outside Calgary. Sapphire is Dutch Warmblood and was bred as a show jumper. Richard bought her for himself and show jumped her the first year he owned her as a 6-year-old. Sapphire is the horse that started Tik’s Eventing career.
Late start but proven athlete
Tik started Eventing at the age of 26, which is a little later than most of the top eventers. The biggest reason for his late start was a love for Modern Pentathalon that he discovered in university. After graduating from university in 2005, Tik focused on Modern Pentathalon, aiming for the Pan Am Games and the Olympics. He competed at almost a dozen world cups all over the world. A few months after competing at the 2007 Pan Am Games, he had a rotational fall in stadium, jumping a very low fence and broke his collar bone. He had to have a plate put in which ended his quest for the 2008 Olympics and he began to lose interest in the sport.
Hooked on Eventing
Tik was not having a good year and his dad suggested that the two of them should go out and cross-country school a couple of horses for fun. Richard was short listed for the Olympics in the 1970s so Eventing is in the family. Tik recalls, “I remember being out there with my dad. I’d had the crappiest year, and I was out there for an hour or more, and I just had this big grin on my face the whole time. I was like, what have I been missing my whole life? I feel like this is my calling. It was the best day ever. Looking back on it, we probably were only doing training height jumps and we had these show jumpers out there who were used to jumping. It was a great day in a huge park with the grass and the puddles and the river, because it was right on the Fraser River. It was just incredible. I’ll never forget that day with my dad on those two horses out there. From that day on, I was hooked on Eventing.”
After deciding that he wanted to pursue a career in riding, he embarked on a training and education plan to learn from some of the best in the sport, travelling extensively to accomplish his goals. Tik says, “I applied to be a working student, and I had this idea that I’d immerse myself in it. I would go to three different barns. I’d go to a Show Jumping barn, a Dressage barn, and an Eventing barn to kind of finish it off. My vision was I’d kind of do like three or four months in each barn, and I’d be done in a year. It ended up taking two years because I kept getting sidetracked by all these different things. So, I went to Johann Hinneman’s place in Germany first. We didn’t really hit it off, me and him. I was there and I learned some stuff, but it was not the best match for me.”
From there, Tik went to Ingrid Klimke’s place. “Ingrid was an hour train ride away. I went over there and just by coincidence, she had two Canadians working for her at that time and both were from British Columbia. So we had this connection through British Columbia, and we knew some of the same people. Ingrid had no spot for me, but I just stayed with these guys and I just hung around and showed up for work every day. Eventually she just kind of let me ride some horses, and then I just stayed like two months. I started riding and I started talking to her. I remember going out on a couple hacks with her, and her helping me with some stuff. She even let me jump some of her horses. That Abraxxas horse, she let me ride that horse a few times. It just turned out to be this great experience in the end, even though it was tough on the way.”
Next stop, Tik worked for David and Karen O’Connor for an entire Florida season in 2009. Interestingly, it was here he first met his American wife Sinead. Sinead was in Florida competing and was short on staff. She contacted the O’Connors to see if they had anyone that could help her. They sent Tik and he helped her out for the weekend. After that encounter, he went on to Texas and Sinead went to work with William Fox-Pitt.
In Texas, Tik was working with a horse trainer. “I was only there two months and what was amazing about that was that I don’t think I learned a single thing about riding. However, I learned more in those two months about horses than I ever have in my life,” he says.
While in Texas, Tik was arranging his next educational stop and that was with American Show Jumper and five-time Olympian, Ann Kursinski. “I went to Ann’s place as a working student in Florida for three months in Wellington. At the end of that stint, she offered me a job as her assistant trainer. I had been in all of these working student positions and now I was getting a paid position. She was even going to pay for my horse to be there,” says Tik.
While working for Ann he met Sinead for the second time. Coincidence or destiny?? Sinead had moved to New Jersey and sent a horse to Ann to be sold into the hunter world. Tik remembered her immediately and Facebooked her, suggesting that they should hang out. He didn’t know many people and Sinead knew only a few so they started to hang out. Eventually that led to dating and of course, we all know these two got married just over a year ago.
Building a business
Sinead encouraged Tik to head out on his own and over the past year his business has grown significantly. Tik coaches students and trains horses. I can attest to his horse training abilities as we just sent our unbroken 3-year-old, James, to Tik for the month of February. James came back to us under saddle and can walk, trot and canter. He is calm, confident and is comfortable in so many scenarios including a person literally crawling all over his back. He will now be turned back out to play and will return to work next winter, when his training will begin for an Eventing career if he takes after his mother. Thank you Tik for the quality time you put into James.
Good luck to Tik on his quest to represent Canada for the second time at the Pan Am Games.
How many people can do that in two different sports?
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