In 2008, 26yearold Tik Maynard faced a crossroads not unlike that of other young adults. A university graduate and modern pentathlete, he suffered both a careerending injury and a painful breakup, leaving him suddenly adrift. The son of prominent Canadian equestrians, Maynard decided to spend the next year as a “working student.” In the horse industry, working students aspire to become professional riders or trainers, and willingly trade labor for handson education. Here Maynard chronicles his experiencesgood and badand we follow along as one year becomes three, what began as a casual adventure gradually transforms, and a life's purpose comes sharply into focus.
Over time, Maynard evolved under the critical eyes of Olympians, medal winners, and worldrenowned figures in the horse world, including Anne Kursinski, Johann Hinnemann, Ingrid Klimke, David and Karen O'Connor, Bruce Logan, and Ian Millar. He was ignored, degraded, encouraged, and praised. He was hired and fired, told he had the “wrong body type to ride” and that he had found his “destiny.” He got married and lost loved ones. Through it all he studied the horse, and human nature, and how the two can find balance. And in that journey, he may have found himself.
"Both a fascinating record of a young man’s quest to find his place, and a vivid portrait of an industry and a culture built upon on one of our most ancient and transformative relationships, that between the human and the horse. Acutely observed, vividly told, and not to be missed."?Kathy Page, Author ofAlphabet andParadise & Elsewhere
"It’s a shame you have to use the word ‘natural’ in front of ‘horsemanship.’ It should all be natural, the way you interact with a horse, the way you converse, teach and perform together in this incredible partnership. In my day, they called it, ‘It’ and it was a kind of secret society because people were ridiculed for taking the time to understand the way horses think and learn, rather than just showing the horse who’s boss. Today, it is becoming more the way, to train horses using love, language, and leadership; using psychology rather than mechanics no matter what your discipline, from recreational to performance.
"This is not horsemanship versus eventing; it is about laying a proper foundation before specialization. To see Tik Maynard bridging these two worlds in his quest to become a real horseman will inspire generations to come and contribute to making a better world for horses and the people who love them."?Pat Parelli, Bestselling Author, Founder of Parelli Natural Horsemanship®
"Tik Maynard is not only a fantastic writer but a special horseman. His ability to work naturally through a horse’s problems and to communicate what he does in a way people can understand is a gift. He has a never-ending want for knowledge about horses, and I hope he continues to share his experiences."?Lauren Bliss Kieffer, US Olympian
"Tik Maynard’s writing is engaging and insightful. With each turn of the page I felt like I was right there, rooting with him through the triumphs and challenges of his horsemanship adventure. Loved the gems that came from his experiences and the honesty he shares. Anyone who loves horses and is passionate about becoming better with them will love this book!"?Jonathan Field, Horseman, Author ofThe Art of Liberty Training for Horses
"About five years ago, I met Tik Maynard for the first time when he attended a clinic I was giving in Maryland. I immediately observed: Tik is a special person, who has an equally good understanding for both people and horses. Tik can put himself in his partner’s place and listens closely to the horse that has offered Tik his trust.
"Tik possesses the knowledge of both classical riding and natural horsemanship that is necessary to bring them together. Bringing together these two complementary approaches has helped him become a true horseman. He has traveled a rough road. But, he never gave up. Over time, he was able to convert every discouragement, every rejection, into something positive. He’s tried to learn as much as he can from each of his trainers. That still applies to Tik today and is the basis for this exciting book.
"What can the reader gain from this book? You should never give up and always keep your specific goal in sight—and you must do that in the face of all the adversities that a rider must overcome in the course of his education. In this regard, Tik is a role model for all of his readers."?Christoph Hess, FEI Dressage and Eventing Judge and Ambassador for Training and Education of the German National Equestrian Federation (FN)
"As with horses and life, actions speak much louder and mean more than words. I think this statement is true for horses and people: Horses don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Tik Maynard should be proud to count himself as one of those people. I am happy and humbled to have played a small part in his horsemanship and life's journey."?Bruce Logan, Clinician and Horse Specialist
"Tik Maynard writes like a seasoned novelist but there is no mistaking the authenticity of his story. Whether you’re crazy about horses or not, you’ll enjoy this ride."?Rick Lamb, Co-Author ofA Revolution in Horsemanship and Author ofHuman to Horseman
"Tik Maynard arrived at my barn like an energetic young dressage prospect?with plenty of cadence in his step and a joy that filled the arena. I knew this was going to be fun! With his unparalleled desire to learn everything he possibly could I was hooked. Here was a student who was going to push me, and together we could both become better?student and teacher?understanding our horses more deeply and sharing thoughts and experiences in our blessed lives with our horses. Thisis who Tik is: engaging, inquisitive, intelligent, and compassionate about his horses and the work he does with them. It takes a great student to become a great teacher, and Tik is both. It was a great joy and pleasure to share time with him."?Betsy Steiner, Dressage Trainer and Coach and Author ofA Gymnastic Riding System Using Mind, Body & Spirit
"People have a hard time being aware. Awareness of their environment, of other people, of what effects their actions have on others, animal or human. Self-awareness is even more rare. This is a book about self-awareness. How does one learn? How does one process the world? Observation is a necessity to be successful in an animal world. How one processes one’s own observations is a key to being successful as a human being. Tik Maynard has opened up and shown his ability to be self-awareand observational. This is an insightful book about the journey to acquire knowledge and then use that knowledge to help others, human and horse. It’s a joy to read."?David O’Connor, FÃ©dÃ©ration Ã?questre Internationale (FEI) Eventing Chair, Former Chef d’Equipe US Eventing Team, Former President United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), Olympic Gold Medalist
"In 1989 when I was 54 years old I started a Thoroughbred filly for the Queen of England. Upon Her Majesty’s insistence that I write a book, I set out to write my autobiography, The Man Who Listens to Horses. Tik Maynard's book, like mine, is the tale of a young man committed to understanding horses and life. It is a fantastically written adventure story for horse fanatics and adventure lovers alike.
"My generation began a revolution in horsemanship, and it is Tik’s that will continue it. For that I am grateful. A must read."?Monty Roberts, Horseman andNew York Times Best Selling Author
"Tik is a great horseman and writer. His journey makes for a super read! " ?Eiren Crawford, Grand Prix Dressage Rider and Trainer, All Points Dressage
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