Naima Moreira Laliberte was on the Canadian Team that won the gold medal in dressage last year at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima Peru. Winning this gold medal was the key to Canada being able to send a team to the Olympics in 2020. Despite a busy season in Florida competing she had time to answer my questions.
You have declared for the Olympics. Is riding in the Olympics something that is a long time goal or dream for you?
Absolutely! I always had a passion for horse back riding but around the age of 12 I saw the summer Olympics of 2008 in Hong Kong. At this point I was already riding, but just for fun. It was one of the ﬁrst times, I saw Dressage of this level and it was then that my Olympic dream developed. I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue this sport to best of my abilities to achieve this goal.
You are competing with two horses this winter in Florida. Tell me something about them.
I have Statesman. He is 13 and his breeding is Sandro Hit X Brentano II
He’s a good size at 17 hands and he has a very lovable character. He is extremely curious and wants to be with you all the time. He is a real attention Hog! We also nickname him Starman !
My other horse is I Do Kiss. He’s 14 and his breeding is French Kiss X Donerfly( Swedish warmblood stallion). He is 16.3 hands and he has a great personality. Kiss likes to think he is the king of the castle . He always makes a big show coming into the stables however it is all an act! He is one of the sweetest , most easy going horses that I’ve been lucky to have.
What are your plans for the show season in ﬂorida ? Where might you be showing after the ﬂorida season ?
So far, I have competed a fair bit with both Statesman and I do Kiss during the 2020 Grand Prix season here in ﬂorida. Wellington allows us to have multiple opportunities to compete in qualiﬁers so we have a tentative schedule laid out for both horses. However they are always ﬂexible as we want to make sure to take them out when they are performing at their best . Following the Florida season, I will more likely start campaigning them both again during the CDI’s in Tryon,NC. in April and then possibly May in Canada.
Do you ﬁnd it stressful competing for scores to qualify for a major games like the Olympics?
Honestly, it can be stressful, as it is all a new experience for me. However I try to take things one day at a time and work toward achieving small goals or tasks towards my bigger goal of the Olympics . By doing so, I feel better prepared and feel positive about the direction we are heading in! The key is to remember to have fun and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I am so fortunate to be able to even dream of these goals let alone try and achieve them .
Is there anything else you would like people to know about this competition season or about your experience in the Pan Am games last year? Or perhaps about who you have on your support team?
Pan Ams was a outstanding experience for me. The atmosphere,the team spirit , the facility… everything contributed to a amazing and memorable time . I think participating in these games is so special, because you are competing as part of your country and it unites all sports and nations. It is just overall a very special experience.It deﬁnitely gives me an even greater drive to once again compete in a major games.
I deﬁnitely couldn’t do it without the people who support me . My family, my horses, my team at the stables (farriers, vets, grooms etc), my amazing coach, Ashley Holzer, as well as a sport psychologist, and personal trainer . The list is never ending !… It really takes a village and they have all contributed to my success.
Thank you Naima for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you and both of your horses the very best of luck in your journey toward Tokyo 2020.