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Henrys Carry On Family Legacies

Published: January 10, 2021 12:14 pm ET

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"I don't know if it's a competitive thing or a lifestyle, but for some reason you always come back to it."

Through their respective families' involvement in the racing and breeding aspects of the Standardbred industry, Travis and Maddi Henry are well ensconced in the fabric of Ontario harness racing.

"I was pretty well born into it," Travis, who began driving in 2010 and has amassed over 1,500 wins to date, said in a recent profile produced by COSA TV. "I had no interest in it until after high school. I don't want to say it was forced on me, but I was always just in the barn — it always kept coming back to me."

His wife, Maddi (née McNiven), likewise grew up around the game, but on the breeding side.

"My parents have a breeding farm," she explained, referring to Rob and Tammy McNiven's Twinbrook Farms. "I helped them out. They always tried to push us to go to school, but we always came back to the horses."

Given their combined expertise, it comes as no surprise that the Henrys have established their own stable, which currently consists of "five or six" horses. With Travis driving at Ontario's Signature tracks most nights, Maddi handles much of the early morning barn work, and took over training duties in 2018 while Travis assists.

"In the big picture, it's great working together," Maddi said. "To be able to say that you work and do everything every day with your husband is cool, but definitely a lot of challenges and arguments because we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things."

The past year has not been without its share of challenges, yet Maddi feels that the current "changing of the guard" can help the harness racing industry weather the current storm — and others to come:

"I think right now it's a little bit scary — with COVID and the shutdowns and everything too, and I think there's always going to be struggles in the business. But it's going to take the younger generation like us to try and push to make it better and hopefully get it to what it should be."

As for Travis, who eclipsed the million-dollar mark in purses earned as a driver each of the last four seasons, he hopes to continue to steadily raise the bar.

"Shoot for as high as you can be, but you're only as good as the horses in your barn and the horses you're driving," he said. "For me, I'd love to drive the best horses in Ontario, but just win as many races as you can."

The entire COSA TV profile appears below.

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