By SARAH JAYNE JOHNSON
In her final year as a youth rider, Sabina Berglund is looking forward to soaking in every last second before launching into full adulthood. Part of that includes making sure she enjoys every ride and every show along the way with Stachowski Farm and her family.
Competing with Sabina this year is her exceptional four-legged soul mate, EA Apollomalu (Troy) in Arabian Equitation, Show Hack and Country Pleasure Driving; Noble Bey CRF (Ace) in Arabian English Pleasure and Pleasure Driving; and MJM Hit Man (Hitman) in Half-Arabian Equitation, Country Pleasure and Show Hack.
Reminiscing on her previous years and most beloved memories from Youth Nationals, Sabina shares, “There are two memories that really stick out to me. My first year competing at Youth was in 2018. Despite not having any expectations except to go in, have fun, and get the feeling of how competitive it was, Troy and I ended up coming out with a reserve championship in the Arabian Country Choice and I couldn’t have been more excited! Getting a set of national roses with your heart horse is truly an incredible feeling. And in 2019, Ace and I showed in the Arabian English Pleasure JOTR and won that class after only being together since February. That class was such a rush, and I’ll never forget how much fun it was!”
Sabina’s journey into horses is a little different from most. Like most young children, she always loved and had a fascination for horses, however, her passion did not come to the forefront until she visited her grandparents in the Czech Republic. Every summer, they would take her to see the breathtaking carriage horses that lived close by, and it was just about as close to love at first sight as a person could get. “They (grandparents) were the first ones to notice that deep love,” says Sabina, “it just took my parents a little longer to realize it. But once I started taking riding lessons, I was hooked! My mom thought it would be a few lessons and we’d move on to the next thing, but that clearly never happened! It’s been an incredible journey so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”
Beyond the show arena, Sabina is just as talented. In November 2018, she graduated high school early and worked on her prerequisite courses for veterinary school. Despite the challenges of being one of the youngest in her classes, she’s excelling. Her goal is to graduate vet school with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, specializing in sports medicine, followed up with a surgical residency to become an equine orthopedic surgeon. Her final goal? Own her own hospital one day. She credits her future career goals and aspirations in life to the lessons she’s learned as an equestrian. Horses consistently have been her motivation in many life tracks, but now are her focus and drive for her personal and career goals.
Until then, Sabina’s short-term goals after graduating from Youth Nationals, include becoming the best rider she can be. “I really want to work on finessing my skills and becoming a better rider in general,” she says. “There is so much to learn, and each trainer I work with is just so incredible at helping me expand my knowledge on these amazing horses. Working with multiple breeds has definitely helped that, and I can’t wait to really step it up to get ready for the amateur divisions.”
Miss Berglund made sure to emphasize a thank you for those who have supported her throughout her career. First and foremost, her parents who have supported her every step of the way. Peter and Susan Witte for giving her the solid foundation in our industry, Josh Shino for helping her gain her confidence in the show arena, Jody LaSalle for her support in and out of the arena, and Nestor Gonzales for his help this year prepping Miss Berglund and her horses for Youth Nationals.