National Reining Horse Association Professional Malin Billberg traveled a long way from home to work for someone else.
The reining trainer from Sweden has been spending time at the 2023 NRHA Futurity in NRHA Professional and Million Dollar Rider Nathan Piper’s barn.
“My best friend is an assistant there, so I’ve been with him now for some weeks,” Billberg said. “You get to be behind the scenes, and I’m a little bit of a workaholic, so I have plenty of things to do. You get to see the preparation of it and the finish and how it shows. So that’s what I like most about it.”
This isn’t Billberg’s first trip to the NRHA Futurity. In 2018, she competed, missing the Semi-Finals by just half a point.
“I think I came more relaxed (this time),” Billberg said. “It’s very hard the first time to find your way around because it’s so big. Now I can just feel at home and enjoy it more.”
When Billberg flies home Dec. 5 to Sweden, she will resume training horses and customers from her facility in Hoerby, about an hour from Malmo.
Reining trainers aren’t scarce in Sweden, but they’re uncommon. Billberg packs her boots and spurs three weekends a month for a two-hour flight across the country to give clinics for aspiring reiners. Billberg takes her horses to show in Sweden, Austria, Germany, or Poland on the spare weekend when most people might sleep.
If you’re wondering how much sleep she gets, the answer is “Not much.”
“That’s what I do. I ride and sleep.”
When she sleeps, she dreams of winning a reining futurity – maybe even the European Futurity.
Until then, she’s still doing what she loves – reining.