"He's been very successful in the business" says Tyler. "My dad is getting older and ready to retire so he's handing everything over to me. Some young trainers have their horses at training centers where I fortunate to have my horses at my dad's farm which saves a lot of money."
"My dad is a very good blacksmith... he takes his time and gets a nice healthy foot on a horse. They stay sound longer because they have a nice platform they can land on." Tyler adds how much his dad helps with his quality work. "I recently had an Olympus Hanover horse I bought at the mixed sale and he had some bad feet. I gave him some time off and then qualified him and he only missed the top three a couple of times. I think he made $13,000 and then got claimed for $9,750 plus tax."
"I haven't been a bookkeeper before, but I am getting better." Tyler says with a laugh. "I am starting to watch my money more... especially since my dad is putting is business over to me."
"My dad was never huge in the business but he always dug down and worked harder. Now he's at an age where he's 65 and retiring."
"He still shoes them all" notes Tyler. "He's a very good blacksmith and that's why we've had success. We only have trotters and we go to sales looking for horses with bad feet because my dad can fix that, especially a young trotter whose feet are hurting."
Tyler is also taking over responsibility for the breeding on the family farm. "My dad's always had the odd broodmare, he had a good horse named Yentls Image and that was probably my dad's best horse and he ended up standing stud."
The first horse Tyler owned was a mare named Lucrative Lady. Tyler with his dad bought her as a 3-year-old for $1,400 and Lucrative Lady went on to garner over $55,000 in purse winnings over three years.
"She's retired here and just had acolt last week." Tyler says. "He's actually out in the field with her right now."
Under Tyler's care are three race horses plus two 2-year-olds that are both gelded. "We are big believers that we turn out all our horses together and especially if they do not have the breeding to be a world champion. Plus they're a lot calmer to deal with."
Would Tyler get into shoeing once his dad was fully out of the game, shoeing is something which Tyler was never really interested in. "Shoeing is very very important and that is what has helped my dad in life. Yes I should learn it" says Tyler "but I never found it interesting. I would like to be a fulltime catch driver and always own horses."
That is why whenever Tyler is watching harness racing which he does as often as possible; he is always constantly assessing what the top drivers are doing. Especially with horses at longer odds, Tyler really enjoys seeing how a top driver can help a horse exceed expectations.
His mom is Karen Sparling and his brother is fellow harness driver Robert Sparling Jr. "We always cheer for one another" when asked if Tyler has a brotherly rival with Robert. "I always expect him to do better than me because he's been doing it a lot longer."
Right now Tyler only drives at The Raceway at Western Fair, (London, ON) and in the summer months Tyler usually heads to Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia, ON to compete.
Something rare that happened to Tyler was driving General Manager in a time of 1:56:3 and finishing in a dead heat as winner at Hiawatha Horse Park. And the other horse in the dead heat? It was Jmpridesmrtypants driven by Tyler's brother Robert Sparling Jr. and the finishing time were new lifetime bests! What are the odds of a dead heat finish with your brother and setting a record doing so?
"What makes feel the happiest at the track is when I know I did my best job every race I was in. I drove smart a left a little in the horse for next week. " Tyler adds he feels bad when he doesn't finish well with a favorite, whether he got locked or was parked Tyler feels disappointed in himself.
"I do my best and always try to leave enough so the horse can race next week. I do my best to drive smart."
"I've been into horses since I was a kid" says Tyler. "Ask anyone in the business and they love it, it's a bug you catch and I've had it since I was a little kid.... I'd get off the school bus at my mom's and then call my dad to pick me up so I can help him with the horses all the time."
"When I get up in the morning I can be in the barn all day, I love it." Tyler says. Tyler is a true outdoorsman as he enjoys hunting deer with his crossbow and going out on his four wheeler with his buddies. It's all about being outdoors soaking in all nature has to offer.
Tyler is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, so we know he hasn't been watching much hockey this spring. However Tyler adds he's always smiling! "I don't like going to the track and being pouty or in a bad mood. I think when you're happy, things go a lot smoother."
"I am at a pretty good spot in my life right now." Tyler adds, "My dad is very supportive of me, my mom is very supportive of me and I've never had to worry thanks to them."
is Tyler's all time favorite horse and believes had he come back and raced as an older horse, could have won in 1:45. In regards to which current horse he favors, that horse is Foiled Again. "What a warrior" says Tyler about foiled Again.
By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova