By ALLY EDWARDS
With the 2020 Spring show season being almost completely canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, every junior rider is looking forward to Youth Nationals. And Sabina Berglund is one of these youth riders eager to get back into the show ring this year with her horses.
Eight years ago, Sabina started riding lessons. Her parents thought she would go for a few lessons to try it out and that would be that, but Sabina was hooked and so began a life full of horses. With her riding career beginning on an Arabian horse, Sabina has a deep love for the breed that has encouraged her to dedicate her life to horses, with the goal to become an equine surgeon.
At Youth Nationals this year, Sabina is bringing her three saddle seat horses. First is EA Apollomalu, showing in Arabian Country English Pleasure. He reminds her of the high school jock that knows he is the coolest guy around. Her firecracker, Noble Bey CRF, shows in Arabian English Pleasure. Last year, Sabina and Noble Bey CRF were National Champions together. “No matter how the ride goes,” she says, “he is a thrill to ride. I’m always happy at the end in the line-up, that I’m lucky enough to show such an amazing horse as him.” Lastly is MJM Hit Man, her newest mount who will be her equitation teammate. Going through colic surgery last fall and with the pandemic stunting the show season, Sabina is excited to finally get to compete on Hit Man in Half-Arabian Saddle Seat Equitation and Half-Arabian Country English Pleasure.
The two weeks in Oklahoma City for Youth is something Sabina looks forward to every year. There’s nothing like the atmosphere and the energy that comes with trotting into the Jim Norrick arena on her geldings. “I’m looking forward to enjoying every ride,” says Sabina when looking forward to Youth 2020, “not overthinking it, living in the moment, and appreciating the fact that we get to do this; that we get to have these amazing horses and these bonds with them, and get to enjoy the time in the ring with them. Roses are always nice but having fun with my horses is most important.” To all her competitors that are nervous about competing at Youth, Sabina says, “Don’t stress it. Just do your best and enjoy it. With time will come the experience, so just sit back and take in the energy of the show and learn from it!”
This is Sabina’s first show season with trainer Josh Shino. Wanting to dial in her equitation more, Josh has been the perfect fit helping her grow in the discipline. The skills she’s learned from him for her equitation have helped step up her game with all her horses.
Showing horses comes with a lot of different aspects and challenges. Having a true connection with your horse before going into the show ring is something Sabina highly values. “By learning how to communicate with them,” she says, “the mutual trust that comes out of it is very special. Then as a team you can do anything.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, she has not been able to see her horses as much as usual. Sabina says it is sad not being able to spend as much time with them but when she can see them, it means so much more to her now. Her barn family and the horse show atmosphere that Sabina misses the most about going to shows, is something everyone is looking forward to!