Nickolas Taris lives in Hamilton but trains with Special Olympics Tamaki. He has been involved with Special Olympics since 2003 and has been riding for the past 12 years.
Equestrian takes up a significant part of Nickolas’ life and he spends between 20–30 hours a week training. He has achieved mainstream Pony Club qualifications including D Certificate, D+, and C grade dressage, show jumping, and cross country courses (beating many of his mainstream peers to the qualifications). He also competed in the mainstream Pony Club Golf Cup.
Nickolas is very even tempered and a respected member of his team on trips away. Despite facing significant challenges and hold ups in his competition at the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013, he managed to keep smiling (“this happens when you deal with animals”).
“What I like most about Special Olympics is getting to go to different places, meeting different people, and trying out different horses. The LA2015 World Summer Games will be my first trip overseas, which is really cool. I’m looking forward to the chance to represent my country,” says Nikolas.
Outside of equestrian Nickolas is a keen fisherman and hunter and has qualifications from the Mountain Safety Council and New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association.