Maximillian Tan Chern is a 29-year-old para-equestrian who will be competing with his horse, Dreamy, in the Rio Paralympics 2016.
Max suffered a congenital cerebral palsy grade Ib, therefore, he began riding as a form of therapy since he was 7-year-old RDA (The Riding for the Disabled Association) to help with his muscle tone and balance, and found that being able to handle a large animal gave him a sense of achievement.
“Although you have instructors at the side, you know you are on your own controlling the horse. And when you finish the session and realise that you overcame the whole thing by yourself, you feel more ready to deal with anything,” he said.
In a series of questions by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Max Tan shares more about himself and his training in the lead up to the Paralympics.
MCCY: This is not your first time participating in the Paralympics. What makes this time different?
Max: In London, I competed on a borrowed horse and he was the oldest amongst the 75 horses there. We were also the only country where we shared a horse between two riders.
This time round I will be competing with Don’s Day Dream, my own personal horse. We call her Dreamy for short. We have been training together for 2 years and had a few successes since we partnered and we are looking to continue this streak.
MCCY: What is your daily training schedule for the Paralympics like?
Max: When I am in Singapore, I do maintenance riding once or twice a week and squeeze in some physiotherapy and gym sessions. We usually train in Germany where our horses as well as our coach live. You will find us in our riding gear from morning to dusk as our accommodation is on site.
MCCY: Do you have any superstitions or lucky rituals you do before a competition?
Max: No superstitions but a ritual – I always go down to the competition arena and visualize my test (competition routine) and also watch how our grooms warm up my horse to understand my four-legged partner’s emotion and mood for the day. That way, I hope to get the best out of my partner and for me to contribute my part.
MCCY: Besides the competition proper, what else are you looking forward to at the Rio 2016 Games?
Max: This is a gathering of top riders from all over the world. Some I have met and competed against before. It is an excellent and rare opportunity to watch, learn and share riding abilities and knowledge. It is also a time to renew and make new acquaintances for the common goal of improving one’s equestrianism. It is very exciting!