Here is our Rider of the Month for January/February Liliana Nabhan!
Hi my name is Liliana Nabhan, I am 15 and I ride\train at Silverleaf farm with Kathy Rowse. I own my horse and his name is Cricket (SB Heritage) and he is an eight year old purebred Arabian gelding. I have owned Cricket since January 2015, and we are at 1st level and schooling 2nd level. We showed all the 2015 show season in many Region 1 shows at training and
1st level and also dressage seat equitation. It was really my first completed season, so I had alot of fun and learned a lot. I completed the show season qualifying and competing in two big competitions; Sport Horse National Championships, and USDF Region 1 Regional Championships. Cricket and I had a lot of success including top ten at the Sport Horse Nationals, and seventh at G.A.I.G.S in training level, and sixth in Region 1 Dressage Seat Equitation.
I am a student at Floyd E Kellam High School. I own my business called Liliana by Design (www.lilianabydesign.com) and I make equestrian jewelry,belt buckles, interchangeable brow bands, and more! I created my business when I was 14 and sell my pieces online and also vendor at the horse shows. Its so nice to have a team behind me and I get help from everybody at Silverleaf Farm! I wouldn’t be able to do it without my awesome parents who have supported me through everything. My trainer Kathy Rowse who always pushes me hard, always makes it fun, and makes sure I’m surrounded by the best people. Kathy is not only my trainer but a mentor who teaches me about riding and life. The rest of the Silverleaf team is Katie, Cindy and Ernie Lang, Danielle Rowland, Janice Mumford, Kate Knick, Adriane Alvord, Brenda,Barbara, Margaret and Bob, Mary Rombs, and Mike Rowse for taking such great care of Cricket and and me every day.
Our interview with Liliana:
1. When did you first start riding Dressage?
I first started riding dressage with Kathy Rowse when I was the age of 13, but I started riding horses at the age of 11.
2. Do you ride without stirrups when schooling your horse?
I do not normally ride without stirrups, but when I do, it is usually for me to feel something new and/or change my position.
3. What is your training regime on a daily basis with your horse or horses?
I am currently riding two horses and ride about five days a week. Cricket (SBHeritage) my first horse who I got when I was fourteen, he is eight years old and is now training at 1st and 2nd level. I have been training him by myself and also with my trainer Kathy Rowse. We have been focusing from the beginning on mainly getting the horse straight, supple, and creating correct training basics. I also ride another horse at Kathy’s farm Silver Leaf, who goes by the name of Blue (FA Patriot). He is owned by Katie Lang who is attending William and Mary, and is letting me ride him while she is away. I ride blue at least twice a week and he is at the grand prix level. He helps me so much as a rider to go from one horse who is green and is just starting out, and then to get a different feel and perspective from a more experienced horse, which has made the difference for me and my horse.
4. How important is the warm up and cool down of your horse ?
My warm up is very important, he is very sensitive yet stubborn, so if you are not clear on what you want and explain to him how, he can be quite a challenge. He is a bit of a wiggle worm as we would say, one day his shoulders are falling in, one day they are falling out, you never know what you will get until you get on him! It is important to develop the straightness and balance early on in the lesson/ride. For my cool downs I usually ride stretching trot circles and free walking.
5. What is the importance of transitions in your schooling?
Transitions, transitions, transitions are probably the most important thing in the training process with my horse. It is a big tell-tale sign whether the horse is uphill, on my aids, and/or in balance.
6. Do you follow the Scales of Training on a daily basis?
The scales are one of the most important things in the training of Cricket. If I am riding him on my own and I’m having a problem, I will stop and think what would be most beneficial for the horse and I, based on the scale.
7. What is the most essential quality in the early stages of training a horse?
I think a relationship with the horse and good correct basics is essential and doesn’t have to be the fanciest or the most expensive horse by any means. You can do anything with a correctly trained horse.
8. Have you ever owned a Schoolmaster or have you done the training yourself with your horse?
I have not owned a schoolmaster. I have done most of the training with my horse (Cricket) by myself with Kathy Rowse’s coaching.
9. . Do you include interval training for your horse?
It depends on the horse I get that day. Sometimes cricket can be perfect, other days his head could be in the rafters.
10. How often do you show?
During the show season we show about once or twice a month our season usually starts in March and ends in October.
11.Do you braid your own horse’s mane?
I do braid my horses mane. I decided to chop half his mane off in the middle of the season even though he is a Arabian, so I could do button braids. I really like big button braids and they turn out great every time.
Who grooms for you at your shows?
I don’t have a groom, my mom is always at all the horse shows, but most things I do myself, especially cleaning his stall, braiding him, putting the saddle on, and grooming him. I usually let my mom walk him while I clean up and take care of his stall.
13. Do you trail ride and how often?
I don’t really trail ride unless riding the horse in the pasture as a cool down counts! We don’t have trails at Silver Leaf.
What are your goals for you and your horse?
My personal goal is to eventually over time ride my horse affectively, ride every moment wisely, and that I learn something new whether it is about my riding or my horse. For us together I think it’s to be able to train up through the levels until he reaches his full potential, and to be able to look back and have no regrets. To also know that I worked hard on making it real and correct. I don’t know how far Cricket and I will go, but, I do know one thing and that is its going to be a roller coaster. There is no doubt in my mind that we will have fun and I will always remember my first horse for teaching me the ups and downs. He will hopefully teach me how to be a really effective and confident rider. I also know that there will never be another horse like Cricket, he is truly something special, I will cherish him and our time together for as long as I can!
15. Do you have a musical freestyle for you and your horse, and if so what type of music do you like?
No, not yet but I am happy to say that I will have one for the 2016 show season! I like any music as long as it matches the horse.
16. Name your favorite horse and rider?
Oliva Lagoy Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir.
17. What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
Whenever you have the opportunity to see people ride at a show, clinic, or just at your farm training, watch and listen to see what they are accomplishing, what they aren’t and how they are going to fix what the issues are. It is important to watch and see what other people do and their point of view.
18.What is your horse’s personality like and what is the funniest thing he/she does?
It is impossible to explain Cricket’s personality in a simple way, he is so complex and curious about everything. He is always going to test me no matter what I do, he just wants to double check and see if I am really serious about what I am asking. He can sometimes be insecure and anxious, but has found a new trust in me and is happier than ever. He is silly, playful and everything a young horse should be! My horse knows one of the funniest tricks in the world– he sticks and will hold his tongue out by the command of touching his nose!
19. Please tell us who you would like to thank for being your best supporters?
First I have to thank my parents for all their help and making my riding dreams come true. Then I have to thank my trainer Kathy Rowse for all of her help and guidance, she is truly the best and is always there. Mike Rowse for taking care of Cricket and going above and beyond to help us! Kate Knick for helping me and him and helping me in the beginning when we first bought him. Elizabeth Smith for being my best friend and one of my best supporters. The Langs for giving me the opportunity to ride FA Patriot, and the entire Silver Leaf team for cheering me on.
20. What is your favorite quote that you love and want to sharewith others?
“We are not a TEAM because we work together, we are a TEAM because we respect, trust, care, and love each other…..” unknown.
“Short reins win goldmedals….” Charlotte Dujardin.
“Keep your chin up or your tiara will fall…..”Kathy Rowse.