August EFO Rider of the Month
- How did you enter the Equestrian Industry?
I started riding when I was 5 years old. I began in the hunter/jumper ring. When I was a teenager, my family moved to Germany for 3 years and this is where I began training in Dressage and really developed a passion for the sport. When I was 20 years old I started my business “Equest” which focused mostly on starting young horses, and over the years it’s evolved into the Dressage Training business it is today
2. What is your first memory you have with horses?
I remember all the naughty ponies I rode as a kid. I loved the challenge and the reward when everything came together. I also remember falling off a lot :)
3. Did you always know that you would be working with horses as a profession?
I never had a doubt. This was my dream as a kid and I was determined to make it reality. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
4. What does an average day look like for you?
Mon- Fri I arrive at the barn at 6:45am, feed the horses hay and grain and start teaching lessons at 7:30am. I normally teach 2-3 lessons and then start riding. I ride 8-10 horses a day. I teach again in the evening and normally get home around 8pm. Saturday’s I teach off property from 9am until 4pm. Sunday is my day off
5. What are the most common challenges you face?
One of the biggest challenges I face is having quality “me time” and balancing home life and work. I am very dedicated to my job but I have to often remind myself to take time for me and have a life outside of horses.
6. Do you have any suggestions for young riders aspiring to become professional riders?
You have to really love the horses and what comes along with them. They are a lot of work and it requires commitment, motivation, and passion to do be a great professional rider. It is such a rewarding job training horses and I love helping riders accomplish their goals so the long hours are totally worth it!
7. What are some of the most common challenges you face with your riding?
I ride alone a lot so it’s sometimes hard to stay motivated especially in the winter. I watch a lot of videos of great riders that I look up to and that really helps me stay focused and motivated to be the best I can be. I also have a great support group surrounding me which definitely helps
Riding as many horses as I do in a day can also be very tiring on your body so some days are a bit harder to get motivated than others.
8. If you could spend a day doing a different sport, what would it be and why?
Fun fact, I would like to be on American Ninja Warrior. I enjoy going to the gym and working out and I think it would be a cool experience to train on one of those courses for the day
9. If you weren’t in the Equestrian Industry, what do you think you would be doing instead and why? (career wise)
I always thought I would be a Teacher however when I attended university in my twenties I discovered that I would like to be a Youth Corrections Officer. I think I would enjoy helping youth get on the right path in their lives.
10. What accomplishment are you most proud of within the Equestrian Industry? (Does not have to be show related)
I am most proud of Training my horse Lumiere myself who I bought as a 3 month old weanling through the levels to Grand Prix.
11. The most memorable horse which you have owned or ridden is _____ and why?
My horse Lumiere. He was not the easiest horse to train and there were a lot of ups and downs, but he is the reason I started to get noticed in the industry and I learned a ton with him. I am forever grateful for my journey with him
12. What is the one thing you can never go to a horse-show without? (i.e. lucky socks)
I honestly don’t have any good luck charms I take to shows.
13. Do you have any horse-show rituals? (other than getting Tim’s at 4am)
Definitely Tim Hortons! We also love the social aspect of horse shows so normally someone will host a BBQ and have the whole team over.
14. What is your favorite post-horse-show thing to do? (i.e. relax with a glass of wine, unpack the trailer etc.)
I like to sit down and relax with a tequila cocktail!
15. Does your horse have a favorite treat? If so, what is it?
My horses love food so they eat everything happily but they do love their Equinox Horse Treats
16. What do you like to do when you manage to get some time off and away from the barn?
I like to fish, go to the gym, snowmobile in the winter, go shopping and work on projects at home.
17. Describe your dream vacation (does not have to be horse related)
I have always wanted to go to Greece. It looks like such a beautiful place and I’d love to see it one day. Just walking the streets, learning about their culture, eating local food and seeing all the sights it has to offer. Sounds pretty perfect to me!
18. What are you most grateful for at your barn?
I am most grateful for the wonderful clients I have. Everyone is so supportive of one another and we really are a team. I enjoy being around them all and we have such a great time which is important to remember.... Have fun!
19. Describe the funniest wardrobe malfunction that you have had when riding?
The zipper on my show boots broke completely at a show in Florida. All I had was duct tape and a sharpie so I taped them together and coloured the tape black
20. What is your go-to late night snack?
I love cereal!
Would you rather…
Fall in the warm-up ring or go into the ring with a very mud covered horse? - I picked this one only because it’s actually happened to me!!
Thank you so much Maya for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down for this interview. We wish you all the best in the future and cannot wait to see where you go. Good luck! We are cheering you on from the sidelines!