The Basics

Name: Catinka 25
Age: 11
Sex: Mare
Rider: Vanessa Mannix
Breeding: Oldenburg, Catoki x Luxano
Barn Name: Tinka

Tinka. “No photos after the class please….”

What is Tinka’s background?

I bought Catinka from German rider Maxi Lill at the end of Catinka’s seven-year-old year. Maxi did a great job producing her through the Young Horse classes.


How did you two meet?

My coach Conor Swail saw a video of her when he was in Europe looking for horses. He called me to get on a plane immediately to try this mare he had found, and two days later I flew from Calgary to Germany. I sat on Catinka for about 20 minutes, bought her the next day and she joined our team in Florida at the start of WEF 2017. When Conor says I’ll love a horse, he knows what he’s talking about!

What was your first impression?

She was a feisty and green but just my type – not too big with great technique, good balance and the right attitude. We didn’t jump too big or do too much when I tried her – Conor and I loved her right away. When she first got to Florida Conor showed her the first couple of weeks to get her going, then when I started riding her we jumped 11 clear rounds in a row right off the bat.

What are her biggest strengths? Weaknesses?

Her biggest strength is her huge heart – she is such a fighter that when you canter in the ring I know she wants to jump clear as badly as I do. She has great use of her body and legs in the air which helps her jump that tiny bit bigger than you think she would if you just stand beside her. Her weaknesses are probably that she can be a bit tense and quick the first day of a show – I always try and jump a small class on her first to get her to relax and focus before the jumps get bigger.

How would you describe her personality?

She has a strong personality and I love being around her! Tinka is very smart, with a fine sense of just how much you can tell her what to do. She is definitely not a pushover! But when we are working together she is the best teammate a rider could ask for. She’s very sweet when she’s not being too sassy!

Does she change from home to the horse show?

Tinka is pretty high energy even at home but she definitely rises to the occasion when she is at the show. She is very professional and grows a size when she canters into the ring.

Favourite treat?
She loves all treats and is very aware when she deserves a snack!

Any funny quirks on the ground or under saddle?

She is funny in her stall, when you go over to visit with her she throws her head up very high so you can scratch under her chin. She also has no tolerance for photos after the class. It takes my groom Kyla and I about 20 shots to get one photograph where Tinka doesn’t look royally annoyed!

Does she have a theme song that you imagine represents her well?

Lizzo’s ‘Good as Hell’

If she was a celebrity who would she be?

Maybe the star gymnast Simone Biles – big personality, so athletic, tough, loved by all, professional and kind but with a lot of spark!

Accomplishment that you are most proud of in your relationship?

Definitely qualifying for World Cup Finals this year was a huge accomplishment, but I think I am most proud of us being selected to represent Canada in the CSIO 4* Nations Cup in WEF this winter. To ride for your country is the ultimate honour in our sport and Catinka became my second horse I’ve represented our home nation on.

Plans for the future and your partnership?

Right now Tinka and I are staying fit and brushing up on our basics at home while the competition season is at a standstill. When we are able to start competing again, Tinka and I will have our sights set on more opportunities to ride for Team Canada in the Nations Cup competitions and more 5* Grand Prixs together. My dream shows would be to return to Dublin Horse Show in Ireland or compete in Aachen, Germany.