The team of Janine Little and Naima Moreira-Laliberté achieved a highly successful 2016 Florida season, with high scores and wins throughout the Adequan Global Dressage Festival series on numerous horses.
Janine Little, a trainer and coach listed for the Canadian Team in 2011, achieved much success with her team of up-and-coming young horses, while Naima Moreira-Laliberté’s earned highly exciting results with her new stallion Sancerre in the small tour division and in the Young Riders with Belafonte.
Beyond winters in Florida, the team trains together in Montreal at Moriera- Laliberté’s stable, where Little trains full time and coaches Moreira-Laliberté. The pair has training support from internationally-renowned trainer Albrecht Heidemann, with whom Little has had a strong training relationship for over a decade.
Little scouted Sancerre, a 10 year-old Sir Donnerhall x Rubinstein stallion, for Moreira-Laliberté from the Netherlands in early 2016, and has been coaching the pair to promising successes.
Within the early weeks of the duo’s partnership, they achieved scores in the 70s at the CDI level and were consistently in the placings at the CDI small tour level – which was Moreira-Laliberté’s first time competing in the open small tour classes. Improving with each show, the pair closed out the season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival by winning their final competition Freestyle with a 72.9%.
“When I saw Sancerre’s talent and envisioned the harmony he and Naima would have, I knew he was the new horse for whom we’d been searching,” Little explained.
“As soon as Naima and I flew to Europe to try him, it was evident they had potential for a great future together.” As the excitement about the partnership grows within the international dressage community, they are definitely ones to watch. And as this year’s results prove, there are numerous promising horses in Little’s future.
Janine Little began the 2016 Florida season by winning The Horse of Course High Score Award at the first Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), earning a 75.370% aboard Shawneen Jacobs’ eight-year-old Friesian mare Ebony (Beart 411 x Fabe 348). Throughout the season at AGDF, Little proceeded to achieve excellent scores and placings with this mare and with all of the horses she’s bringing along at various levels.
Little scored 68-73+% with Finley, a seven year-old Westphalian (Fidertanz x Ehrentusch) gelding making his first appearances – and earning numerous blue ribbons – at Third and Fourth Levels.
Billionaire, a rising five year-old Oldenburg gelding (Belissimo M x Sir Donnerhall), began his show career with Little, winning his Training Level class with 71.5%. The next day the pair returned to win with a 76.957%.
“I’m very excited by the potential demonstrated by the young horses I’m developing,” Little states. In addition to those she showed this year, she is currently developing other horses she looks forward to bringing down the centreline soon.
“It’s always exciting to work with new horses and see them start to come into their own and gain confidence in the ring. This season has been such a positive experience for all – with both what they’ve proven in the ring and what they’re achieving in the training arena. It’s very rewarding to be working with such a wide range of promising partnerships at so many levels.”
Little’s approach is to be highly attuned to the unique temperaments and developmental stages of each horse and rider in her program. She does so thanks not only to many hours in the saddle and coaching, but by maintaining an active role in all aspects of horse care.
Her “hands on” approach includes everything from hauling the horses across the continent herself to nightly barn check. Indeed, Little, her professional groom Larisa Anderson, and Naima Moreira- Laliberté spent the 2016 Florida season sharing a house on site at the beautiful Lady Jean Ranch, their home away from home for the winter season. Spending such time together strengthened their bonds with the horses – and also the already strong teamwork between each other.
Teamwork, after all, is key to success. “It takes a village to produce quality dressage horses,” Little emphasizes.
While many attest to Little’s uncompromised dedication and work ethic, she readily acknowledges the vital contributions upon which success depends – both in the ring and behind the scenes.
“I am tremendously appreciative of the owners who trust me with their horses’ training and care,” she says. Multiple owners have sent their horses across the continent because they believe both in the results Little achieves and the process it takes to reach those levels.
“It’s always fantastic when they visit. They love spending time with their horses, at the barn and at the shows, and seeing how their horses are progressing.”
Little additionally commends the thoughtful owners, managers, and staff of Lady Jean Ranch, who provide at once world-class facilities and a fun, welcoming atmosphere that epitomizes Florida hospitality and exemplary horse care.
She acknowledges her appreciation of Albrecht Heidemann’s expertise, noting how they share insights on the horses they train, each bringing unique strengths and collaborating towards optimum results.
Further, Little appreciates all those who contribute to keeping the horses feeling and performing their best. For example, DK Saddlery, led by world-renowned master saddle maker Danny Kroetch, has been an integral part of maximizing Little Dressage horses’ comfort and freedom of movement for over a decade. Top-tier vets, farriers, and leading-edge health care supplements are all essential to Little’s program.
And at the very front lines of providing top care is professional groom Larisa Anderson. Anderson began training with Little as a young teenager and working student, earning numerous victories throughout western Canada, including the 2013 Alberta Provincial Junior Championship.
Caring for high-level equine athletes on a daily basis alongside world-class trainers has provided Anderson with unique skills, insights, and opportunities. Her dedication, long hours, and attention to detail ensure optimal wellbeing of all the horses, as evident when Moreira-Laliberté’s Sancerre won the Omega Alpha Healthy Horse Award in March 2016 – a testament to the value the team places on happy, healthy horses and top-tier care.
“Achievements in the show ring are the culmination of the dedicated contributions of so many,” Little acknowledges. “It’s truly exciting to see what can happen with such shared commitment to excellence.”
Little, Anderson, Moreira-Laliberté and the horses will return to their Montreal home base, let the horses enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and will then work towards even higher levels at shows in the summer and autumn – before launching into what promises to be a very exciting 2017.