Plaidcast 337: Tik Maynard by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

Plaidcast Episode 337 Tik Maynard


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Piper and Traci Brooks speak with Tik Maynard about his unique journey through the horse world and how he is sharing his knowledge of natural horsemanship with the equestrian industry. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!


  • Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine and Traci Brooks
  • Guest: Tik Maynard is a trainer, clinician, and international-level rider who has combined his love of eventing with natural horsemanship. He and his wife, Sinead, who is a 5* eventer and member of the U.S. Equestrian Team, run Copperline Farm in Citra, Florida. Tik grew up riding in the show jumping ring and eventually became interested in the Modern Pentathlon, spending six years on the Canadian National Team. He competed at the 2007 Pan American Games, three World Championships and 11 World Cups before focusing his competitive sights on eventing. He was long-listed for the Canadian eventing team for the 2012 London Olympics. Tik teaches clinics in the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland.  He is also an on-line instructor for The Horseman’s University and for Noelle Floyd.  He is a regular guest on podcasts, and a contributor to Practical Horseman, Noelle Floyd, Chronicle of the Horse, Horsemen’s Journal and others. Tik is also the author of In The Middle Are The Horsemen.
  • Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman Photo
  • Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
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This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Piper Klemm [00:00:34] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of the Plaid Horse Magazine. And coming up on episode 337, I talk with Tik Maynard about his unique journey through the horse world and how he is sharing his knowledge of natural horsemanship with the equestrian industry. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. 

Piper Klemm [00:02:08]  Tik Maynard is a trainer, clinician and international level rider who has combined his love of eventing with natural horsemanship. He and his wife Sinead, who is a five star eventer and member of the U.S. equestrian team run Copper Line Farm in Citra, Florida. Tik grew up riding in the showjumping ring and eventually became interested in modern pentathlon, spending six years on the Canadian national team. He competed at the 2007 PanAm Games, three World Championships and 11 World Cups before focusing his competitive sights on eventing. He was long listed for the Canadian eventing team for the 2012 London Olympics. Tik teaches clinics in the United States, Canada, England and Scotland. He is also an online instructor for the Horsemen’s University and Noelle Floyd. He is a regular guest on podcasts and contributor to Practical Horseman, Noelle Floyd, The Chronicle of the Horse, Horsemen’s Journal and others. Tik is the author of In the Middle are the Horsemen, which was recently released on Audible as well as in print. Welcome to the plaidcast Tik. 

Tik Maynard [00:03:46] Thank you very much. Thanks for having me. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:49] So I read your book when it first came out and then I re-listened to it on Audible ahead of this interview. And it was fascinating to me how differently it hit me even a couple of years later that I’ve spent so much of this time thinking about my own education and how I’ve learned and how I view opportunities from when I was younger. So can you talk a little bit about kind of that, that process of wanting to learn and wanting to find opportunities and learning to essentially become a better student? 

Tik Maynard [00:04:26] Wow. That’s. That’s a lot. Yeah. Well, first of all, thanks for having me on. And thanks for reading the book and thank you for listening to it. And I’d be curious, you know, sometime to hear your thoughts on if there was a difference or how it felt different to you reading that versus listening to it, because I haven’t really talked to anybody that’s listened to it yet in terms of learning. I mean, I think part of it has happened, you know, before the book or during the book or since then. But I think growing up. I was very spoiled in how much, in how easy it was to learn like having both my parents be horse trainers, going to good schools with good teachers. Being in a first world country. Having access to books, libraries. Its very easy to take it for granted, you know, to just have all this knowledge out there and there’s so much knowledge, it can almost be overwhelming at times that you want to take in stuff and that you can’t take it in or that you take it for granted that it has to always be there. And, you know, at the beginning of the book, for those of you that have read it, what takes place in Germany is essentially I go there to be a working student and learn and I just start to feel like I’m not, you know, in my mind, I’m not getting the help that I deserve, which is a little bit maybe, you know, egocentric or or you know, people are different words for that. But but in my mind, I was wanting more knowledge. I was really searching it out. I was wanting to get lessons. I was wanting to read books, and it just was not easily available to me in the situation that I was in. And that was kind of what got me started on, on wanting to be a good student and a better student. And over the course of the last few years, I’ve started to realize. That one of the things that affects how well we learn, whether we’re humans, kids or adults, or whether it’s dogs or whether it’s horses is not how smart we are or how athletic we are or how talented we are. But a lot of it has to do with how motivated we are, how much we want to learn. And I think it’s something that partly you’re born with. But I also think it’s something that culturally is brought out by your community or by your parents, or if it’s an animal, it’s brought out by the trainer. I mean, I think everybody here that’s listening to this is probably had an instance with a dog or with a horse or with a kid where they don’t want to learn. Like, the dog wants to run away, the horse is trying to get out of work, the kid is not paying attention. And then on the other hand of that, we’ve had dogs, maybe like stereotypically like a golden retriever or lab or a horse that like really is just a horse that’s always trying for you or a kid that’s always asking questions and always interested. And I think the easy thing is to say, you know, some people are born with that and some people aren’t. But as a trainer, it’s something I’m really trying to consciously bring out in the horses that I train and the people I surround myself with and also in myself. 

Piper Klemm [00:07:31] You mentioned that first, that first experience of being in Europe. And something that struck me so much is that, first of all, I think all students and all young people like almost underestimate the amount you learn from just an environment. And I found your descriptions so rich and it was such a dichotomy to me because clearly you’re observing it enough to have make notes and write these chapters and be very vulnerable and have these rich descriptions of your experience. But on the flip side, you like, you know, it seems to take you like perspective to understand how much you are getting from the atmosphere there. And and learning sometimes is learning about how, you know, maybe you don’t want to run your barn or how the learning style, you know, doesn’t work for you. But I think that’s part of your data set and becoming a professional. And you know, I think that that’s and then there’s also this aspect of like how they were teaching didn’t almost register as learning to you or you wanted your learning to come in like kind of a different way. And you think about that from a teaching perspective, like. There are so many students over the years that I was doing something specific, but because they didn’t identify or appreciate what I was trying to do as as deliberate and part of a learning process like missed the boat on it and my husband’s a better professor than I am, he’s very good at it and he’s always like about setting the expectations and, and kind of these tricks that like faculty members in front of the classroom learn over the years. But it’s almost like the horses were too busy or I’m not sure what the exact issue is, but we kind of disconnect or we want something so clear on what is learning or what isn’t, or there’s no time that we walk into the classroom and learn. We’re kind of learning all the time at the barn. It’s very nebulous. Our whole sport, our whole industry is is very nebulous. And I thought your descriptions on not sure at the time what you were learning, but then kind of looking back and realizing the growth that came from that were fascinating. 

Tik Maynard [00:09:46] Yeah. I mean, I think that’s I think that’s really, really spot on. Really, really true and really profound what you just said is there’s the kind of learning where somebody is sort of spoon feeding it to you and you’re taking in little chunks and you’re just growing smarter almost with facts all the time. And then there’s there, there, there’s the more big picture, a deeper kind of learning where you don’t even know what you’re absorbing. And it can sometimes. Take you years to understand. And that can be the most powerful thing where you look back, you know, somebody says something to you. And or even there’s just a situation that has occurred. And you look back sometimes years later and you kind of have that aha moment. You’re like, Now I get it. Now I now I know what this person was saying or trying to tell me. 

Traci Brooks [00:10:34] It’s so it’s easy to see after the fact that, oh, yes, I was learning and I hung in there and and now I appreciate it. But with with our own students, I feel like how do we get that across to them at this point? Have you been able to get to the next step of you know, we always say to them, oh, trust the process. It’s going to be okay. You know, you’ll see, you’ll see later. But is there a way to have them in that moment realize that although they don’t quite see it or they’re not understanding things that they think they should or they’re not at the level where they think they need to be, like, how do we make them really believe that the process is actually the education? Do you have any words of wisdom about that? 

Tik Maynard [00:11:17] Yeah, I mean, I, I don’t know. I think that’s something. That that some people can absorb it easier than others. And I think a lot of it comes with age and maturity and wisdom. And I guess the only thing that I’ve found that maybe works a little bit is to not just say it, but to give examples or tell a story or to find some way to inspire them or make them think a little differently. You know, just like in that first chapter that Piper is talking about, when you’re actually in the moment, it’s it’s very hard to kind of take a step back and observe the big picture. It’s almost like the difference between reading fiction and nonfiction. You know, like like, like nonfiction is going to give you facts. You’re going to read about how a horse, you know, like how to do a shoulder in, or something like that. Whereas sometimes fiction, it tells you a story and you maybe don’t think you learn something in particular, but it’s something that resonates with you and can stay with you, I think, often a lot longer. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:17] That’s an interesting comparison too I didn’t think about it like that. And to your point earlier, I felt like I got so much more out of the book on the audio version. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I had like space to, you know, you reading it more slowly to me than, you know, I read really fast and sometimes I miss things. And I think having a little space to, like, think about every line and every sentence, I think, you know, I got so much more out of the audiobook and. You know, hearing it in your voice. And, you know, I think, you know, I think everybody should listen to it, because I think it’s that analyzing your own learning style and analyzing what isn’t going well and owning that is something we struggle with so much. One of the things I wanted to ask you about reading it is that I find, especially with young people right now, everyone wants to give an explanation, excuse, whatever you want to call it. It’s like if something doesn’t go well, they really want me to know that it’s probably not their fault. And they really tried and they really whatever. And I struggle with that so much as as an educator, as a friend, as a boss. Like all my roles in life, because I’m just like, yeah, some stuff just doesn’t go right sometimes and we fix it like this. No one’s at fault. No one’s to blame. But this perfectionism mindset just pushes us so hard right now, and it seems to be more permeating culture than ever before to me. 

Tik Maynard [00:13:53] But to do with. Yeah. I mean, I gotta. With perfectionism and blame. I think so much of that, like, just like with the last question, I don’t know the answer. I’d love to hear if you guys have a good answer, but I just think somewhere that comes with with age and wisdom and maturity, I think the biggest thing that I try to give my kids and my staff and my horses is to give them as much as I give them facts or knowledge or training, I’m trying to give them a confidence, a confidence in their. In themselves and in their ability to learn. I don’t think I really realized how, for example, studying how much studying is a skill that is unrelated to intelligence. You can have something that’s really smart, but they’ve never sort of, you know, learned how to study or learn how to prepare for an exam. And they may not do very well. Whereas if you’ve had good teachers and good parents growing up, you’re sort of taught this skill of how to study and how to prepare for something and to feel out of your comfort zone, whereas, you know, if you don’t know something or you’re surrounded by people that you admire that know. It’s very easy, I think, to give excuses. And so the biggest thing I try to do is sort of empower them to feel confident and that I rather they get the answer right or not, or whether they can do the thing or not or whether they win the class or not, that I still care. There was a good quote that I heard the other day about horse training, which is. They don’t. They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. And I thought that was nice. 

Piper Klemm [00:15:34] Yeah, it’s kind of the same. The teaching, the students and teaching the horses. You know, and you talk about it in the book of like starting the horses with the right coping mechanisms so that they’re, they learn to go forward before you know before they get scared by anything or before they get backed off. And I think a lot of the perfectionism way that we teach people to ride and starting to show so early and people wanting to win at every level, instead of viewing every level as a process point, it’s kind of like starting the horse without going forward first, in a weird way. 

Tik Maynard [00:16:10] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the horse show world is such a funny thing for me. Like, I love horse showing. I love, you know, the Hunter/Jumper world. I love the dressage world. I love eventing. You know, if I wasn’t able to do that, I think there’s so many horse sports I would love, like, you know, reining or cutting or polo. Like, I just, you know, the feeling of training a horse and boring their athleticism and doing a sport you love on a horse that’s really athletic and really well trained is just amazing. But on the other hand, I think there’s kind of a darker side to all horse sports, which is that it’s very easy to start thinking about horses as more like machines than animals with feelings and to start thinking more about the end result rather than the process. And I think the more we compete in, the more we’re involved in that world, even without realizing it, we go down kind of down that road of thinking how important this stuff is. And I know sometimes I’ve got to remind myself, take a step out of that world to sort of remind myself, hey, this isn’t this isn’t that important. Like, it’s important in some ways, but in other ways, it’s certainly not important at all. 

Traci Brooks [00:17:18] Can you talk to us a little bit about how you have crossed over the disciplines? And I mean, obviously at some level good horsemanship is good horsemanship, but you probably didn’t set out to do that. And can you talk to us a little bit about your path and how that sort of got you to where you are? Because I think it’s so interesting that you you’ve experienced a lot of different avenues within the horse world. 

Tik Maynard [00:17:45] Yeah. Talking about the path and talking about horsemanship first of all the talk about horsemanship. And I think this is something I’m still. Don’t have for myself a very clear definition of what horsemanship is. I think my I think I would change how I talk about it, depending on who I was talking to and where they were at when I was in Pony Club and I was in pony club from the time that I was six until I was 21, which is a long time to be in pony club if anybody has been in pony club out there. The way we talk about horsemanship in that sense was much more about the physical side of things like wound care or taking your horse’s temperature or how to do wraps, or how to braid or how to feed them, how to lead them, like very physical acts that you’re doing. The way I think about horsemanship much more now is more almost about horse psychology. It’s more you know, it’s much more about how does a horse think? How does a horse feel? How does a horse learn? And as part of that, now, when I’ve got a horse that is dealing with a problem, dealing with an emotional issue, is young, is green, one of the big differences that I find myself doing is I watch their eye or I watch their expression, their eyes, their nostrils, their mouth. Probably 90% of the time in those situations. Whereas if I’ve got an emotionally balanced horse, a mature horse or horse that I’m watching how they move in dressage or how they jump or what their shape is over a jump or how they leave the ground, then 90% of time I’m watching how their body is, you know, how their back moves, how their legs move, how they jump, you know how they use their neck, those kinds of things. And so it’s kind of been an evolution for me. And I think if I were to ask, you know, ten different people in in in different industries what their definition of horsemanship was, I feel fairly confident you’d get ten different answers. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:13] I remember being in my early twenties on a variety of projects and having people tell me how great I was basically and not wanting to hear it, but also like not understanding it. And so, you know, when you go through your working student experiences, I really resonated with that fact of like I had put all this work in, I had put all these decades in even at that point, like, how was I so novice or how was like people viewing me as like needing more time and more pieces. And I was wondering if you could kind of speak to that age group. I think there’s an age where you’ve put so much time and you put so much of yourself into this, but there’s just such a lack of understanding of how much more there still is to put in. And I really felt like you captured that in the book so well. I mean, I remember being in graduate school and basically being told that like stuff would come with age and being infuriated because I wanted it now and I was putting everything in now and you know, I. And how much. Better of a student I am now than I was in my twenties, and how much more I can learn and more I can absorb because I don’t need to get it done right now. And so I’m much more vulnerable and own my learning and in a new way. But like I don’t know how I would even explain that to myself from ten years ago, because I would have been infuriated if a 34 year old told that to 24 year old Piper Klemm. 

Tik Maynard [00:23:58] Yeah, I can totally relate to that. I think that’s a very good description, Piper, of what you’re describing and. You know, I guess we all go through this phase where we learn something and we start to think we we know what we know what’s going on, or we know more than we think we do. And then and then as we progress, we start to realize actually how little we know. And it really depends a lot on. And who you surround yourself with. You don’t want to be the best person in the room. You know, like if I go out and I want to play like, basketball ( I played basketball in high school) and I really want to get better, like I want to be the worst player on the court. Being the best player on the court doesn’t really help you. And in the equestrian world, it’s very easy to hang out in a certain crowd or a certain horse show or certain. Barn and start to think. You know, like I know what’s going on here. You start to get the program, you start to feel pretty confident about it. But I, I guarantee you that if you were to try something different with horses or in a different crowd or working with a different kind of horse or a different discipline, I can guarantee you that if you were to change a little bit what you are, where you are working or who you are working with, or what you were working on, or you worked with a little bit more difficult horse or a younger horse, that there’s not one single person in this world that can’t put themselves in a situation with a horse where they start to struggle with learning something new, like whether you’re a hunter/jumper person, you go take a dressage lesson or you haven’t done some of this natural horsemanship groundwork before and you go and you try to ask a horse to stand on a pedestal or go sideways just off of your body language or whatever it is. There’s just a huge, huge depth of knowledge to do with horses that not one person is ever going to know all of it. And there’s moments when I’m struggling where that seems depressing to me and I’m like, Oh my God, Like, I’m never going to get good at this, I’m never going to figure this out. This is really important to me. But more often than not, I’d say well over 90% of the time I’m actually in the mindset where I find out how much more there is to learn inspiring. And I think the first trick is for people to start to take themselves a little bit out of their comfort zone where they start to go, Whoa, there’s so much stuff I don’t know, that’s really inspiring. I want to try to figure that out. The trick, of course, is not to throw yourself entirely in a situation where you feel horrible about yourself because then that takes away from your motivation. But to just constantly find little things out of your comfort zone, to keep learning. 

Traci Brooks [00:26:44] Don’t you find that in the most difficult times or when you’re struggling with the horse or you’re really trying to figure something out? That’s where the learning happens. And you you take that and you use it with other situations, or you remind yourself like, Oh, it’s always it’s always darkest before the dawn. Like, I’m gonna figure it out. Like I’ve failed all these times and, and this is going to teach me something or I’ve never had this happen with a horse. And, and now this is something new that I’m going to add to my repertoire. 

Tik Maynard [00:27:16] Yeah, I think, Traci, I think if you have the mindset that you just displayed, I think the the darkest times come before the dawn are where you learn the most. I think it with, with the with not the right attitude or not such a good attitude. I think those dark times can just stay dark. I think you know, you can get frustrated with a horse and the frustration usually comes when you when you don’t see the path forward. And I think if you’re surrounded, you’re not able to find the answer or see the path or seek the help or find the right person to help you or work your way through it, I think you can just get more and more frustrated. And I have seen people get hurt or horses get abused or people quit riding because they’re not able to find that way forward. But to constantly seek out people, whether it’s through a book or through a podcast like this, or through a video or or through whatever form you like to learn or, you know, like there’s just so many ways to seek out those people these days to find specialists in that particular thing, you know? Just because somebody is a Grand Prix rider doesn’t mean they’re good at starting horses. Somebody’s that’s good at starting horses, it doesn’t mean they’re good at dressage. Somebody that’s good with horse psychology, it doesn’t mean that they’re good at endurance. You know, there’s there’s so many almost like subspecialties within everything. Like even if you look at. Liberty training, which is where you work with horses without a rope or a halter. And the horse is sort of free to move around and you work with them with your body language, even within the realm of liberty training, there’s people that might be better working with one horse versus multiple horses versus getting the horse ready with tricks for a movie versus getting the horse ready for big demonstrations in front of a crowd. Like there’s just so many ways people can sort of start to specialize and I think to kind of seek out those people. Like if you’re having trouble with flying changes, don’t just, you know, if you’re if your horse or your trainer is not able to help you, like be honest with yourself or be honest with your student and think, let’s see if we can find some more help. And that, I think, is what you’re saying. Tracy, is like, that is the moment where you go, okay, let’s go. Let’s expand our world. Let’s really learn something that I wasn’t going to learn before. But because we’re struggling now, we’re going to now we’re going to really push ourselves to find the answer. 

Traci Brooks [00:29:37] Absolutely. And sometimes the answer I found and we talk about this a lot, like sometimes the answer is just to back off and do nothing and not try too hard to figure it out. And sometimes that’s when it actually comes to you. 

Tik Maynard [00:29:53] Yeah. And Traci, if you can figure out when to do one and when to do the other, you let me know. 

Traci Brooks [00:29:59] I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but we’ll stay in touch on it. 

Tik Maynard [00:30:03] That’s a hard one. I mean, knowing when to push and when to back off is is probably the biggest thing that I’d say experience gives you. You know, and with horses it’s with as in life, with horses, it’s like, when do I see this through? When do I keep pushing? What am I going to get to the other side? And when do I just need to to take a moment and think about it and let the thought kind of percolate through my brain and just back off for a little bit. That’s a tough one. 

Traci Brooks [00:30:31] Yeah. And then and so much of it goes to like you, you end up in your head thinking about it so much that I sometimes have to tell myself, okay, stop thinking about it, stop trying to figure it out and actually feel the horse and look at it from the horse’s perspective. And I feel like that opens up a lot of other options of things to try. 

Tik Maynard [00:30:52] Yeah. I mean, I think what you’re I think if you’re able to do that and some people do that naturally and have to be taught, which is look at things from the horses perspective. I think that is one of the things that makes good horse trainers into great horse trainers. And I think it’s very difficult to do like to really to almost imagine, like imagine if you had no fingers. Imagine if you had no arms. Imagine if you had to crawl around on all four. Imagine if you wanted attention and you had to kind of push somebody with your head. Imagine if you couldn’t use any spoken language like you can’t use English. Imagine if you can’t use mimicry either to get your point across. And it’s really all just these like it’s all this body language and you’re trying to communicate and there’s things that you like and there’s things that you hate and there’s things that make you curious. And how are those things different from horses to people and how are those things different from horse to horse? I mean, that is. That is. That’s one of my one of the things that I love and I constantly try to remind myself to do. So I think that’s I think that’s a great thing. Tracy, for you to point out, for people to think about. 

Piper Klemm [00:31:57] So you had this line in the book and it was it was something like like so many people know how to train horses, but they’re not like teaching others how to train horses. Again, I listened to the audiobook, otherwise I would have it highlighted and ready. But. I took that point so seriously because I do think a lot of the people at the top of the sport, you know, are not thinking about the next generation or not, not teaching young people how to train young horses. We’re not giving the younger generation that confidence. And I think there are so many factors in this. So many. Young people have have very linear goals of winning right now. There’s less interest on young people’s part and taking the time with the young horses. You know, I, I, I rode a lot of babies when I was young and I hit, you know, 18, 19, and I was like, I have nothing to show for this. And then when I came back a few years later and a lot of those ponies were out there winning, I was like, oh, like I, I started that one. You know, like the process takes so many years, it’s hard to get young people excited about stuff. So I think we have so many factors in today’s world. I think a lot of the professionals are so stressed out and so busy. There’s so much spoon feeding of education, client hand-holding. But like, how do we get people to want to take working students to mentor that next generation to put themselves out there? You know, and I, I know from seeing Traci’s business up close, look at how many people they give a ton of opportunity to that don’t make the most out of it. So I get it’s frustrating from the side of the professional now that you’re seeing all these working students from a different angle like kind of what are your thoughts on how we how we create the most opportunity for people, but then also really put the most effort into the people who are showing up the most? 

Tik Maynard [00:34:01] Yeah. I mean, Piper, you’re asking me to some tough questions now. I think. I don’t think I have the answer to that any more than probably either of you guys do. I think it’s a pretty fine balance to, you know, to give everybody opportunity. I mean, it’s the same thing that, you know, these countries we live in, I’m Canadian, but I’m living in Florida now, are dealing with on like a huge national and political level as well- is like this idea of getting kids that are motivated and independent while also giving everybody opportunities. And it’s hard to make sort of hard and fast rules that apply to everybody because every situation is is different, I will say. You know, For the industry as a whole, whenever it starts to come back to too much to be about results or about money. Then I think we’re missing the point of why we’re doing this. Which we could be doing is for lots of different reasons, whether it’s for, you know, horses or the social part or empathy or how to train or like, there’s so many there’s so many basically good things that we learn from working with horses, but making a lot of money and winning are probably not two of them. And I think both for professionals and for kids and maybe even for professionals to notice themselves and to point out to those kids that are in their thing is to start to really point out the things that inspire them that may not be about winning or or making money. So like if I watch others, I’ve got so many examples of this. But let me give you one example. I watched at the Spruce Meadows Masters one year I watched a lot of the Masters class, it was the Derby class was like for half a million dollars prize money or something. And I can’t tell you today who won the class, but I can tell you about this guy that. Came around the turn and he came to the devil’s dike, which is like there’s three jumps that kind of go downhill and then uphill over the ditch in the middle. And his horse stops at the first one. And he did not use the whip. He did not use his spur. He pulled his horse up. He walked back to it. He allowed his horse to look at the thing. He gave the horse a job on the neck and he left the ring on that. And I swear to God, it gave me bumps. His level of empathy and professionalism, you know, he didn’t scowl and in reality didn’t curse. Like he was the guy that I will always remember from that entire Spruce Meadows summer that I spent there with my dad. How how inspiring that was. And I think unrelated to this, although it’s a nice ending. Is he went back with that horse and won the Grand Prix the next weekend. But I think whether he’d done that or not, I still think that’s inspiring. And there’s so many things that happen in the horse world where you see somebody warm up a horse a certain way, you see somebody lead a horse a certain way, you see somebody, you know, at the end of their course, instead of galloping out of control and wapping the horse on the neck and then leaving the arena with the horse all tense, they pull up in a professional way. They give the horse a rub, They sink back into the saddle, they let their heels slowly sink down. They maybe give the horse a quiet word or a sugar cube or a rub on the neck, and then they leave the arena quietly. Like when you start to observe those little moments, I think then it starts to become more about the process and pointing those out to each other and saying, ‘Wow, that was really cool’. It becomes the kind of thing that you remember instead of, more than just who won the class or who won the prize money or that kind of thing. 

Piper Klemm [00:37:40] It’s the long term versus short term, you know, benefits. And, you know, even if even if you had, like, beaten the horse over and maybe got around that one day like that wouldn’t make a better horse overall. And I think it’s the same thing for our young people and our young horses. Even if you don’t win today, how are we pointing out to each other making good decisions for long term sustainability of our horses, of our sport, and making things better for everyone. 

Tik Maynard [00:38:12] Yeah, exactly. And finding a way to to get excited about those little things, you know, and whether they’re a means to an end or an end in themselves. Just by just by starting to acknowledge them and kind of point them out to yourself into the other people I think is important. 

Piper Klemm [00:38:31] And I also just want to point out to just the act of. Yeah, watching and paying attention. And I saw you at World Cup Finals and I thought that was one of the most incredible competitions I’ve seen in a long time because it was a lot of riders who had been, who had very developed partnerships with their horses over years and years, and you could feel it in the stands, you could feel it watching it. And I felt like I, I came home with that. I came home with that in my bones. It was very exciting to try to ride again and think about all that stuff after. 

Tik Maynard [00:39:06] Yeah, I totally agree. That was one of the most exciting competitions I’ve ever been to. I’ve never been to a World Cup final before, and to watch the dressage and the showjumping was unreal and seeing. You know, I’ve seen that height of showjumping, you know, many times before, but I’ve never once seen it in an arena that small. To give people an idea, you know, they had a dressage arena set up in there and you couldn’t ride around the dressage arena because the arena was too small. You could only go into the dressage arena to warm up before you came down the centerline. It was it was unbelievable. 

Traci Brooks [00:39:39] So Tik, us what what’s coming up for you and and what your summer looks like. 

Tik Maynard [00:39:46] Well, I’ve got I’ve got a pretty full summer of clinics. I usually because it’s so hot here, I don’t know if either of you guys have spent much time in Florida in the summer, but it gets pretty hot here. And so normally we book more of our clinics. My wife and I both will travel. You know, probably four weeks this summer, on and off to teach all over the United States. And occasionally I’ll go to England or Scotland or Canada as well to teach, and then we’ll probably pick back up in August. We’ve both got some horses. We’re excited about where we’ll start competing and then we’ll compete all the way through November or maybe even into early December. Probably the biggest thing I’m excited about right now, which which I’m trying to get started with is, is I want to write another book. I’ve been thinking about this for the last five years, trying to sort of get the momentum going and make the time and, you know, clean some stuff off my plate so I can come into it with a fresh start. And I’m I think I think this summer is going to be the summer where I start that. I think I’m going to try to take a few less horses in training this summer. And I’ve talked to Trafalgar Square books about publishing that, and I think they’re going to be okay with it. And I think I’m I think that’s going to be my big project to get started with. 

Piper Klemm [00:41:06] That’s really exciting. 

Traci Brooks [00:41:07] What’s this book going to be. Tell us. Can you tell us? 

Tik Maynard [00:41:09] So I can give you an idea. I’ve had a few books that I’ve I’ve kind of, you know, I love. First of all, let me tell you, I love the process of writing and editing and, you know, the whole process of doing this book and the audiobook after I love and I love reading, I’m a big I’m a big reader. I try to always have a couple of books on the go, mainly fiction, but also also nonfiction as well. Probably 75% fiction now and. What I think this book is going to be about is going to be about liberty training. And I think I’m going to try to go out and talk to some different Liberty trainers around the world and see if I can figure out some of the similarities, some of the differences, some of the different styles, some of the different theories, while also sort of having maybe some personal anecdotes or adventures that sort of get incorporated into that into that book. I say that now, but obviously books can evolve a lot as you go. But but that’s my idea right now. 

Traci Brooks [00:42:10] Sounds amazing. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:11] I hope you get it on Audible also because I’m excited for that too. So last question. But if you wanted people to walk away with like one thing that they thought about looking at their horse or. Or tried or wanted to encompass in their program, what would you tell people that you wanted them to start considering or what’s some way that someone who says, listen to this and says, I want to be more present, I want to pay more attention, but it just all seems overwhelming. Where where should we get started? And looking at our horse and being more present as a is it looking at their eyes? Is it looking? You know, where should we direct our initial focus? 

Tik Maynard [00:42:55] Yeah, I think looking at the eyes is a great one. But I’m going to give you I’m going to give you I’m going to give you a specific exercise and I’m going to give you a big picture thing to to leave you with. The big picture thing is to whenever you run into a problem, whenever you find yourself getting frustrated, whenever you don’t see the way forward to really, really consciously try to change your mindset, to instead of being frustrated, being interested. And there’s a TV show called House. Have you guys seen that? Yeah. It’s about a doctor. Yeah, Yeah, it’s about a doctor. And he has problems that he comes into the hospital and he doesn’t know the answer and the other doctors can’t figure out the answer and he tries to work it out and it becomes almost like, you know, it’s a life or death situation often. But it also it also is just like, you know, like a riddle or a Sudoku puzzle or a crossword puzzle. It’s like something that people with a little bit of interest and practice that you get, you get better at, you get more interested in it. You know, somebody that does the crossword puzzle every Sunday. And to think of it as like, this is like, I don’t know the answer. Let’s try to make this interesting. Let me try to research this. Let me try to talk to somebody. Let me really take a step back and observe this and see if I can become interested in this instead of frustrated. That’s that’s the big thing. And then the and then one particular exercise just to make people more present is, is the next time you’re grooming your horse, I want you to time whatever it is, however long you give me a horse, maybe say 10 minutes that you time 10 minutes. And I want you to observe as you groom your horse and tack your horse up. How how many times your horse does something that shows tension. So maybe they switch their tail, maybe they stomp the foot, maybe they pin their ears. Maybe they, as you do up the girth, maybe they twist around, maybe bite you, maybe you get distracted and walk through their space. Maybe another horse comes to close to them and they kind of pin their ears at the other horse. But to take note of all those things and count them in the course of 10 minutes. So maybe it happens eight times, maybe it happens 18 times, I don’t know. And then every time you groom your horse and get your horse ready, see if you can slowly bring that number down to zero. 

Piper Klemm [00:45:11] I love that. Well, Tik Maynard, thank you so much for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Tik Maynard [00:45:16] Thank you very much for having me. And it was so great to do this and it was great to chat with you in Omaha. And I’m kind of hoping that our paths will continue to cross and we can talk about a lot of things we have in common, mainly probably as as of right now, maybe books and horses, but I’m sure other stuff as well. 

Piper Klemm [00:47:29] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit You can find show notes at Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of The Plaid Horse magazine at Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!