Here is our interview with Matthew Manibusan:
My name is Matthew Manibusan. I live in Cincinnati Ohio and am 16 years old and a junior in High School. I have owned my current horse Hojvangs Moonlight for almost one year. We competed at the NAJYRC this past August as a FEI junior and finished 4th with a personal best of 67.053% in the individual test and 7th in the Freestyle with a 66.900%.
When did you decide to ride dressage and when did you start riding:
I first began riding at the age of 7 at a barn that was just across the street from our house. My mom actually was the person that really wanted to get into riding and since I didn’t play any sports I decided to come take lessons with her. At that time riding was more of a hobby. I loved my horse but focused more on having fun instead of competing. I really just floated between disciplines until the age of 11 when we moved our horse to a new barn which was the main dressage barn in the area. I first only wanted to be there because it was one of the nicest barns I had ever seen in my life but I soon realized that the horses surpassed the structure. That’s when I remember watching one of the Young riders at the barn, practicing her young rider team test, it was so cool to watch the horse float along doing extended trots, flying changes and pirouettes, it was the first time I had ever seen something like that in person. The rider seemed to be able to just sit up their effortlessly while the horse performed all these movements with the lightest of aids. That was when I fell in love with the sport and knew it was what I wanted to do.
Who are you training with?
I train with Rebecca Knollman, of Knollman Dressage, in Cincinnati Ohio. I will also be spending the winter in Wellington Florida where I will be training with George Williams for the winter show season.
How often do you train?
During the season I train usually 5 days a week but cut it down to 3 times a week after the show season is over.
What is your warm-up routine?
My warm up routine is mostly centered on relaxation and suppleness. I usually walk for about 5 or ten minutes and then do a lot of long and loose stretching and trying to relax my horse in the trot. At home he is very tense so I try to make sure he is very relaxed and calm while still being very attentive to my aids. I like to do a lot of forward and back transitions in between the gates to keep my horse active and off my legs.
Tell us about your horse and his/her personality:
My current horse, Hojvangs Moonlight, is a 14 year old Danish/Oldenburg warmblood gelding. He has a pretty dorky personality, due to the fact that he is a little anti social when you first meet him. After he gets to know you though he is the most lovable horse. He always knickers the first second he sees me, and loves to lick me. He tries to suck up to me for treats by nickering and pawing but if I do not have something in my hand when I walk up to him he will get upset and go to his bucket to show me, that I have forgotten a treat. He has a very kind heart and watches out for me in and out of the saddle. He helped me accomplish my goal of competing at the NAJYRC which was the highlight of my riding career and I will always be grateful to him and especially my parents for acquiring such an amazing horse for me to ride.
Do you go trail riding?
Occasionally but since he is kind of a goofball, I try to stay away from the trails so that he does not accidently injure himself.
What are your goals with this horse?
My big goal this year, and for the past three years, was to qualify to compete at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships in Lexington Kentucky 2010 Where I went on to finish in the top ten. Next year my goals are to compete as a Junior rider at NAJYRC and try to finish in a medal position. I would also like to try to show some Prix St. Georg so I can try to obtain my silver medal.
Who is your mentor and why:
I have to say that every one of my dressage trainers has been a mentor to me. They have all taught me something new and helped form me into the rider I am today. Mostly though my mentor is my mom. My dad is also one of my mentors. He has always been there for me and supported me in everything I do. He always told me that through hard work I can accomplish anything I want and I stick to that ideal every time I get in the saddle. Lastly my mom is my greatest mentor, she introduced me into the sport and has been there every step of my dressage career; driven me to every ride and lesson even while still raising three other boys. Without her support I would not be the person I am today.
What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals?
Reaching your goals in riding takes a lot of time and work. You really have to focus in and plan out what your goals are for yourself and your horse and stay focused and work to accomplish those goals. In dressage like many other things in life, there is no overnight success but when you put your whole heart into it you will achieve your goals.
What is your favorite dressage movement:
My favorite dressage movement has to be the extended trot. I think it is the coolest thing when a horse can just sit down and fly across the diagonal.