Date of Birth: June 30, 1989
Place of Birth: Toronto, ONT
What type of books do you like reading? What are you currently reading?
Non-fiction or Murder Mystery; “One” By Vaden Earle about slavery, hunger, trafficking, statelessness, war and poverty and how we can make a difference in the world.
Are there any TV shows you can’t miss?
Two and a Half Men or The Big Bang Theory
What’s on your iPod?
Who’s #1 on your speed-dial?
What’s your favourite meal?
Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Grilled Vegetables
If you won $50 million in a lottery, what would you do with the money?
At this point in my life, I would put some of the money in the bank to save and possibly invest in the future. Another portion I would donate to various charities (animal and human). I would also give some of the money to my parents who have supported me in everything I’ve done over the years.
What’s your on-line addiction? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
What is the coolest place you have ever visited?
Callela, Spain or Prague, Czech Republic
Where do you want to see yourself in five years, not only in regard to horses?
I would like to have competed successfully at the FEI Young Rider World Cup, competed at the 2011 Pan Am Games, and figured out what I want to do with my life. I would also like to have continued to travel around the world helping people and animals through medical aid and mission trips in places like Thailand, Africa, and Haiti.
Tell us about your first horse or pony.
My first horse was named Marenzia. We called her a “handalusion” because she was a 15.2 hh Hannovarian cross Andalusian. She was very spunky but would also take care of me. I would race around on her bareback with only a halter on all over her paddock. She also knew how to barrel race and jump so I would flip over barrels and jump them with her as well. She had a lot of heart and would try pretty much anything I asked of her. She was a beautiful bay mare but sadly, when I decided to focus on dressage, she just wasn’t cut out to be a competitive dressage horse and I had to sell her.
Is there someone you consider your mentor?
My long time coach Tom Dvorak. He’s been my coach since I was 12. I would describe his lessons as quietly intense. Riding with him challenges you mentally and physically. Every ride I learn something different about myself, my partnership with my horse, and how to be a better horsewoman and rider. He never gets mad at the horse; it is truly inspiring. If something isn’t working out, which is EXTREMELY rare, he will get off the horse and try again the next day. He teaches me that there is more than one way to approach everything and we must taylor teaching the horse to each individual horse. I’ve also discovered through the years that he teaches you piece by piece and is very talented at breaking everything down so that it is understandable. I am a visual learner, and he will sometimes get on my horse so that I can watch. He will show me what I am doing, and then what I need to do and I can see the difference. On the ground, he will demonstrate what he wants your seat to do in the half halt for example, and is very skilled at tailoring how he teaches each rider, to what the rider specifically needs. He is a very talented, sometimes underestimated rider and competitor and is someone I aspire to ride like. If you have ever seen him ride a test in the ring, you know how precise he is; he never gives away a point.
What is your favourite show venue, and why?
The North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. You are able to compete on a team and as an individual against the best riders in North America. Often in the equestrian disciplines you compete as an individual and it is awesome to be able to share a major competition with other friends and competitors. The venue is always held at some of the most spectacular places in North America and some incredible show grounds from my experience. I took part in the 2007 NAJYRC in Lexington, Virginia, 2008 in Parker, Colorado, and the 2009 and 2010 NAJYRC in Kentucky. In Colorado, we competed near the mountains and in Kentucky, we competed on the same grounds as the FEI World Cup and Rolex Kentucky. There is a ~ 10,000 seat outdoor stadium with some of the best footing in the world. You also ride down a rubber cobblestone chute into the main stadium which is quite the experience.
If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?
That when I look back on my life, I see that I lived it with purpose and could say I made a difference that went beyond monetary value.
What is one of your worst habits/faults?
I am very analytical and critical of myself. I expect a lot of myself and tend to over-think a lot of things instead of just trusting myself and doing.
Do you have any good luck charms or superstitions that you live by?
Whenever I have something important to do, I always wear something that someone important in my life has given me and that means something to me. I like having something close to remind me of where I come from. My dad recently got my family each a good luck charm from China that I have with me. I had it on me when I won 3 medals at the 2010 North American Championships, including the freestyle gold on a personal best ride.
Do you have a cat or dog? Does it go to shows with you?
My family has a black lab named Jackson, he is the sauciest, funniest dog we’ve ever had. He doesn’t go to shows with me because my mom and I would be running around trying to track him down. We call him the ‘Walmart Greeter’ because he loves wandering off and meeting new friends.
What are your biggest pet peeves?
Underachieving and excessive sneezing haha
If you couldn’t ride anymore, what would you do with your life, besides coaching?
Primarily, I think I would love to continue doing medical aid and humanitarian relief trips to third world countries. I would probably pursue a career in medical or veterinary fields as well. In my spare time, I would like to work with horses and other animals that have been abused or neglected and give them a better life and home.
Who is your favorite non-equestrian celebrity?